The Essencia Art Collective seems like an interesting organization, working internationally across six continents. Its purpose is to encourage “artistic storytelling, and expresses itself through muralism, street art, graffiti, graphic design, photography, video, music, poetry, dance and love!” Unfortunately, the group seems to be on hiatus at the moment, without an update to their Facebook page since 2015.
That hasn’t stopped co-founders Shalak Attack (Elisa Monreal), sister Fiya Bruxa (Gilda Monreal), and Bruno Smoky (Elisa’s husband, Bruno Sant’Angelo Revitte). Each has a thriving international career and their collaborations are in high demand. Individually, their work has been exhibited in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Palestine, Paraguay, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, the USA, and Venezuela.
As an individual artist, Shalak has exhibited to a variety of audiences, exposing an diverse audience to her fused style of South American muralism, contemporary graffiti, and street art. Her murals honour and celebrate the sacred and the spiritual found in the natural world. In recent years, Shalak has not only done mural and canvas work, but has also created costume, sets, and makeup for Gilda Monreal’s production of her play “AYELEN” at the SummerWorks Festival 2015. The resulting work for this play wonthe festivals Honourable Mention award for set design.
Fiya Bruxa not only works as an artist, but is also an award winning writer, actor, and film maker. Her film COLD won Best Picture at both OutFest & the DR XIV International Film Festival. She was also selected to paint one of 41 Play Me, I’m Yours pianos, placed around the city of Toronto as part of the Pan Am Games celebration in 2015.
Rounding out the group is Bruno Smoky, a talented illustrator and street artist from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He also works with NGOs and other groups to teach at risk youth about the history street art, and graffiti as well as its role in a civil society.
As a group, Shalak Attack, Fiya Bruxa and Bruno Smoky have several murals installed throughout the city that I’m looking forward to discovering. Their bright, intense colours and insightful visuals are a refreshing relief to the omnipresent grey of the city in winter. It’s going to be a delight to discover what else they have in store.
The title for this piece is a lyric from Bizarre Love Triangle, written by Gillian Gilbert, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner. It was recorded by New Order and released in 1986.