Curated Contemporary Art Since 2003
Selection 0
St. Paddy's

Brandon Steen

St. Paddy's

Acrylic on birch panel with white birch frame
50 x 50 inches

Originally Toronto was made up wards, they were named after saints; St. Lawrence, St . David, St. George, St. Andrew and St. Patrick. In 2019,  Brandon created a sold-out series called ‘Toronto Saints’ which captured five brick buildings from each of those wards made with bricks made at the old Don Valley Brick Works.

Due to population then being so heavily Irish around present day, Dundas and University where St. Patrick Station is located the ward was named for those new Irish migrants. The TTC’s station at University and Dundas is derived from St. Pádraig (pr. Paw-dreg) a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Now if only he could banish the rats like he did of the snakes in Ireland.

Life for the Irish wasn’t easy especially when prominent newspaper men like George Brown freely printed vitriol in his paper the Globe likening the Irish to the plague of locust in Egypt. It was not uncommon for signs in businesses or adverts in the paper to read “HELP WANTED NO IRISH NEED REPLY”.  For Brandon coming to Toronto from foreign lands is a universal story we each share, “with each new wave the city gains new thread to weave the city’s story that much more.”

All the Irish Counties are represented in graffiti tags to celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day parade each year in Toronto where each of those Counties are represented with their respective floats. As such there are many tags incorporated into ST. PADDY’S but one tag in particular that Brandon is proud of is a phrase from his Irish friend and brilliant fellow artist Dee Mulrooney. It reads “Where Ye From?”.  Brandon was delighted when she permitted him to weave her prophetic words that sums up every single Torontonian into this impactful painting.


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