Memory of 8-year-old boy lives on through his own art in new St-Henri mural

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After a collision took the life of a young boy this summer, a new Sud-Ouest mural has been painted in his honour. – Oct 14, 2020

A new mural has been painted in Montreal’s St-Henri neighbourhood in memory of Liam Aglat-Clayman.

Liam, an eight-year-old boy, lost his life in July after being struck by a car while crossing a St-Henri intersection.

“My boy was an artist, ” Liam’s father Charles Clayman said. “He always had a pencil and eraser in his hand.”

Clayman said his son always had a dream to paint murals. Local artist Matthew Cadoch was inspired by Liam’s passion for drawing and drew inspiration straight from Liam’s very own sketchbook.

“His mother showed me his sketchbook and that’s when I knew it was an important part of this project,” Cadoch said.

“I wanted to help fulfill a dream.”

Read more: Mural in Montreal’s Little Burgundy to honour Nelson Mandela

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Cadoch said he chose four colourful unworldly creatures that spoke to people to draw the side of the building.

One special character called Arty, a representation of Liam as a superhero, was brought to life.

Cadoch said he got to experience a wholesome moment with Veronique Aglat, Liam’s mother, when the two painted the sentimental robot together.

“It was incomplete. Me and his mother got to finish it together and colour it in,” Cadoch said.

“It was his representation of himself as a superhero so that was super cool.”

For Clayman, the mural leaves him speechless when he drives by. He says Cadoch captured this son’s work perfectly.

“Seeing him come to life is unbelievable,” he said.

The Sud-Ouest community at large came together for the project.

The wall used for the mural was donated by a local merchant.

The money for art supplies was raised through crowdfunding efforts.

Read more: Boy, 8, dies after being struck by car in Montreal’s Sud-Ouest borough

Liam’s parents want the mural to mean more than keeping his memory alive. They hope it sparks change in the borough surrounding pedestrian safety.

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They have been calling for real action in the form of increased safety measures on heavily travelled streets.

“We are heading this movement to make sure that they are held accountable and this is not forgotten,” Clayman said.

Since the fatal collision in July, pedestrian poles and signs have been put in place at the intersection of St-Ambroise Street and Square Sir-Georges-Étienne-Cartier.

Borough officials say they are currently in talks with the family to do more.

A petition is also in the process of being brought to borough council, Clayman said.

“It has been going on for years. It took the death of my son to make changes and changes are going to happen.”

Read more: Black Lives Matter street mural removed from Ste-Catherine Street

The mural can be seen on the side of a three-storey building that sits at the intersection of Notre-Dame Street Ouest and Bérard Street in Saint-Henri.

“Liam is around. I mean, his spirit is here so he is going to live on forever,” Clayman said.