Located on the Brunswick Avenue side of 481 Bloor St., come by and check out artist Komi Olaf’s completed mural, “The Band of Storytellers”.
Also known as the “Blue Mural, it pays homage to the history Brunswick House, which also housed Albert’s Hall, formerly one of Toronto’s most popular venues for jazz and blues. The mural fits into the Bloor Annex’s larger Street Revitalization Project and will complement the planned parkette well. The piano keys are fitted with NFC chips – you can use your Android phone to interact with the mural to learn more about the blues, the building, and the people who played there.
From the artist, Komi Olaf: “The band of storytellers is an Afrofuturistic interpretation of the past. It features seven fictitious blue characters dressed as musicians, each playing a different instrument in a hall.
The theme of the painting seeks to represent and honour the musical history of this heritage building, by laying focus on Albert’s Hall era.
By the 1970s and 1980s, the upstairs room, known as Albert’s Hall after Albert Nightingale, became known as a venue for jazz and the blues in particular, and played host to musicians such as Blossom Dearie, Cab Calloway, Gordon Lightfoot, Oscar Peterson, Muddy Waters, Loretta Lynn, the Climax Jazz Band, Downchild, Blind John Davis, Dr. McJazz, Etta James, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy.
The juxtaposition of the cartoon looking characters, the musical elements and colours will draw onlookers to the piece and brighten their day
The “Chiki’s” are a cross-pollination between African and African American Blues music. their archetype was inspired by the 16th century Benin sculptures, Nok art and Ife bronzes.
For more information on Komi Olaf, visit his page at komiolaf.com.
Thanks to the property owners at the Brunswick House for providing the canvass, and to @cityofto through the Economic Development office for the funding this initiative.