Little Rock’s River Market district has been aflutter with activity as French artist Youri Cansell finished the city’s newest mural. The mural, located on the east wall of Ottenheimer Market Hall is part of the ARkanvas project, an initiative installing 12 pieces of public art across the state. The project is under the direction of OZ Art, in partnership with Fort Smith based The Unexpected and global art curation firm Justkids. Together, they selected Youri, also known as Mantra, to create Little Rock’s part of the statewide project.
Youri, a native of France, is inspired by nature and memories of his childhood garden. His art magnifies nature’s smallest details, highlighting the beautiful intricacies of the world’s smallest creatures; in this case, moths and butterflies. By bringing these natural wonders to urban and industrial neighborhoods, he creates organic relationships between his subject and their environment.
“Mantra’s unique tribute to The Natural State in the capital city – including butterflies from across Arkansas – felt most at home on this magnificent wall that highlights the River Market District. This site will not only be visible from the street level, but also from the river, trails and I-30 encouraging visitors to explore the area even more,” said Elizabeth Miller of OZ Art.
Youri’s mural adds yet another layer to Little Rock’s vibrant collection of public art. This mark’s downtown Little Rock’s 15th mural, and you can explore the entire collection in-person or virtually on the official Little Rock Mural Tour. If you’re in the mood for even more art downtown, check out the Little Rock Sculpture Tour featuring the 140+ works of art in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden and Riverfront Park along the Arkansas River.