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BUMP Festival taking outdoor murals to new heights

Calgary will soon be home to a towering achievement in the arts—literally, as the city will be home to the world’s tallest mural.

German graffiti artist Mirko Reisser, who goes professionally by DAIM, will be painting the mural on Hazelview Properties’ First on Tenth building.

The artwork is expected to be completed by the end of June, in time for the official start of the BUMP Festival in August.

“We’re a Calgary-based arts entity, but it’s when you really bring artists of that kind of size and scope to the city that local artists here kind of understand what their trajectory can really be as a visual artist,” said Priya Ramesh, marketing and communications manager with the BUMP Festival.

“We have massive, great muraling cities: You have Berlin, you have Montreal, you have Barcelona— there’s these real visual art strongholds around the world, and you’re starting to see Calgary leaning towards that a little bit more,” she said.

DAIM, who is internationally known for his sprawling geometric artworks, is coming to Calgary after two years of work by the festival to bring him to the city.

The festival has previously featured other big-name international artists such as Astro from France, and DALeast from South Africa.

“Keep your eyes peeled: we have some other big moment murals coming to the city this year. We kicked off with DAIM because it kind of felt right to go big right at the beginning,” said Ramesh.

Astro’s mural from the 2021 Bump Festival, created in partnership with the Calgary Downtown Association. BUMP Festival

Turning the city into a giant canvas

Ramesh said that the festival has a mix of emerging and established local artists, established Canadian artists, and international artists each year.

For emerging artists, she said, getting to connect with the wider muraling community helps build their careers.

“I think when we bring artists like DAIM here, like we’re really setting that path for them,” she said.

Activating public spaces, helping to transform the way community members feel about their city, and even how people navigate the city are all part of the wider art conversation BUMP wants to have with Calgarians.

“I think this year especially, BUMP is looking at ourselves and realizing ‘we’re making the city into a giant canvas.’ We’re kind of architecting the city from the inside in terms of how it looks,” said Ramesh.

“Public art is one of the most important things for a growing city that sees itself having a bright future,” she said.

In addition to the murals, 16 local artists have painted barriers for the City of Calgary. Those will be located throughout the downtown core during the summertime.

Mirko Reisser, known professionally as DAIM, work “DAIMaround” from 2009, as part of the ARTotale – Leuphana Urban Art Project. COURTESY BUMP FESTIVAL

Promising a huge festival, and not just the size of the canvases

This year the festival had nearly 400 applications to take part. The festival jury just recently completed all of the programming details, and a full line-up of artists participating will be released in July.

The number of local artists will be about half the total participants in the festival.

The festival is also working with a number of new organizations this year, such as Parks Canada, to create collaborative murals.

Returning will be a full lineup of musical performances throughout the month of August, bookended by two days that BUMP is characterizing as massive for music.

“We’re currently booking our headliners, bringing in some pretty big artists, it’s going to be a real party,” said Ramesh.

“We’re looking at August, and we’re sizing it up as a BUMP month, because you have Sled Island in June, you have Folk Fest in July.”

BUMP maintains a map of all of the murals created as part of their festival, which can be found on their website. A full festival lineup details for artists and musicans can be found at yycbump.ca, starting in July.