Toronto Through My Lens


On the east side of the Parkside Student Residence on the corner of Jarvis and Carlton Streets, there resides a colourful multi-storey-high mural entitled Equilibrium. Created by Spanish street artist Okuda San Miguel in 2018, the mural was produced by the PATCH project, which works to strengthen communities through producing public art projects which transform public spaces into opportunities for civic engagement.

From the plaque on the mural:

A culmination of a multi-year international collaboration aimed at celebrating the diverse communities that host the work, this mural was painted in 2018.

Equilibrium references the universal balance between nature, humanity and knowledge. Spanish artist, Okuda San Miguel has incorporated a totem-style as used across a diversity of cultures throughout history. It is the artist’s intention that individual viewers should find their own meaning and personal connection with the work, but has thoughtfully selected colours and imagery that conjure feelings of positivity and unity.

A signature element in the artist’s work, the Kaos star at the base symbolizes each individual’s internal compass. Regardless of origin each person must find their own path on Mother Earth (represented by the female figure in the work’s lower sections).

Representing the merging of humanity and nature, the avian-faced women reflect the need to balance these two worlds by holding the globe between them. The featured trio of faces represent the combined importance of knowledge and wisdom (grayscale), alongside innovation (coloured). Multi-coloured bodies are symbolic of diversity, while star-studded eyes reflect the inner universe present in each of us. The face on the globe depicts the eyes of the world watching humanity.

Connecting to the surrounding community, the foliage found throughout the design pays homage to the neighbouring Allan Gardens, meanwhile the angelic figure atop the work connects to the church to the east and serves as a symbol of freedom. A pride-inspired flag was integrated in response to the resounding support the project received from the Church-Wellesley community throughout its development.

The project was made possible through a collaboration among The STEPS initiative, Parkside Student Residence, Knightstone Capital Management, and StreetARToronto (StART), an initiative of the City of Toronto that supports, promotes and increases awareness of street art and its unique role in adding beauty and character to neighbourhoods across Toronto.

The Mural Slowly Takes Shape

Continuing to grow
A closeup of lower section
Mural’s title
Artist’s monogram

1 Comment

  1. David

    This HUGE mural surely gets your attention. I really like the fact that it has turned a drab building into a colourful work of art. The city needs more of these.

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