By Alexandra Macaulay Abdelwahab
A graffiti art piece commissioned by the Ryerson Students’ Union for about $4,000 has been collecting dust for over four months.
The RSU funded British artist Aerosol Arabic to come from London, England to paint the piece. They helped pay for his plane ticket, accomodations and artwork.
Aerosol Arabic came to Ryerson in early August, but the piece has been hidden away on the third floor of the Student Campus Centre. The students union had been working with Campus Planning and Facilities to find the artwork a home.
But RSU President Muhammad Ali Jabbar said the piece may be put up soon. The Student Centre board approved a motion on Jan. 15 to hang it next to the Used Book Room. It’s now up to the campus planning department to approve the proposal.
Jabbar said he originally envisioned the piece going on the brick wall of the SCC. But he was informed by campus planning in September that Oakham House was a heritage site and could not be altered.
He formed a committee with VP Student Life Sid Naidu and Mohammed Ali Aumeer in September to decide where to place the art. But “the RSU budget debacle set back the decision,” said Jabbar.
The artist also worked on a piece for Muslimfest 2008 this summer.
The RSU split the cost of having Aerosol Arabic come to Toronto with Muslimfest. They will also be paying another $500 for the installation of the artwork.
Aerosol Arabic is well known for his art that mixes traditional Islamic art and calligraphy with urban images and he has won many awards and has been featured on CNN, BBC and CBC’s The Hour.
The piece done for Ryerson encourages students to rise up over tuition fees, racism and occupation. It is the first he has done that does not have Islamic calligraphy.