Youri Cansell came to Miami for the first time this week, with a huge milestone in his heart and within the Wynwood Walls. The French artist commonly referred to as Mantra has just presented his first-ever solo exhibition titled MANTRA: Metamorphōsis.
Mantra’s artist niche is butterflies, but not just any type of butterflies. “I was mostly interested and mesmerized about exploration naturalism, like science,” said Mantra, who spent his years before committing himself to art, studying biology.
The Metamorphōsis exhibit opened on Tuesday, October 12 along with an artist talk moderated by Steven Harrington and Jaime Rojo of Brooklyn Street Art and Curator Peter Tunney. Metamorphōsis will live within the Wynwood Walls until November 15.
Mantra, Jessica Goldman Srebnick and Peter Tunney
Jessica Goldman Srebnick, co-founder of Goldman Global Arts first saw Mantra’s work on a mural in Italy, and with an eye for artistic talent, she knew Mantra had something special. The Metamorphōsis exhibit was curated by Goldman Srebnick’s other half of Goldman Global Arts (GGA) and local Miami artist, Peter Tunney. Mantra and GGA worked together prior to the pandemic, in March of 2020 to create a beautiful mural in Dallas, and Mantra explained that this opportunity allowed him to crystalize a great relationship with Goldman Srebnick and the team, hence how this exhibit came to life.
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Mantra explained that his personal journey is highlighted through his paintings. “So we have one from Costa Rica, another one from Mexico and the third one that is from Ecuador. They're particular to me because I saw them for real and one of them, its part of my collection right now that I bring back to France because I found it in the rainforest and it was just about to pass away, so I was able to collect this butterfly from the ground and bring it to my studio," he noted.
Mantra’s personal interest and commitment to human nature is not overlooked by those in the industry. Tunney shared, “I love that his name is Mantra. Mantra is repeating his mantra, by putting some creatures and some life back into these urban landscapes where it’s disappearing. And he puts them in those boxes, that’s about as rough as he can get, that’s his comment on the laws of biodiversity.”
Metamorphōsis features 14 one-of-a-kind paintings, featuring his signature collection of butterflies from all around the world. Many of the butterflies featured in this collection can be found in Mexico, Costa Rica, East and West Coasts of North America Oceania, Africa and Asia.
“One of the butterflies that we were looking for, I found dead, so I decided to keep it. It's the same feeling as you going to the sea or the ocean and you find shells on the ground. Like oh my gosh, this shell is amazing, the color is just so unique.” Mantra explained, creating a parallel to his memories by the ocean and in nature, with how he wants to share his story and work with the world.
And the Wynwood Walls family, including Tunney welcomed Mantra in with open arms and a commitment to his exhibit. The room is filled with Mantra’s 14 beautiful paintings which echo naturality and Mantra's overall mission. “I really wanted to put really organic material,” explained Tunney, “If it was up to me I would have covered the floor with rocks and dirt.”
With opening night completed, Mantra's exhibit is now open to the public to introduce himself to the Miami community and beyond.
Photography by: Courtesy World Red Eye