With much love and great fanfare, the Little Portugal Toronto Barcelos Rooster was unveiled at Lakeview Park, on Saturday, September 25, 2021. A VIP event was held at 1200 Dundas St. W. where honoured dignitaries Mayor John Tory, Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, José Manuel Carneiro Mendes, Consul General of Portugal in Toronto, Vitor Santos, President of The Barcelos Migrant Association, the Honorable Ahmed Hussen, MP – York South-Weston and our own BIA Chair, AnaBela Taborda, brought greetings. Portuguese community members joined in for a celebratory glass of Portuguese port wine, and enjoyed special entertainment by Rancho de Barcelos, Portuguese-Canadian singer/songwriter Vicky Rai and Portuguese music DJ selections. Many thanks to the Rooster Committee, the Deputy Mayor’s office, StreetART Toronto, Toronto Police Services (for the street escort), BIA business members and many volunteers who helped out, leading up to, and on this happy and much-anticipated occasion.
Local artist, Julia Prajza explained that her winning design for the permanent 9’ statue was based on the themes of new beginnings, hope and optimism. The Rooster truly does honour the rich culture of the Portuguese people, and in Julia’s words, she skillfully “….created this modern-meets-traditional design.“ We invite everyone to stop by, take a selfie and post, and spread the word about our very own Rooster of Barcelos.
Julia Prajza is a Muralist, Lettering Artist, and Designer based in Toronto. As an OCAD University graduate, with experience as an Art Director and Graphic Designer, she has now returned to her first love: the art of drawing and painting. Bringing her design expertise and graphic style to her work, Julia often focuses on text-based imagery. Creating intrigue with ornate details, vibrant colours, and a whimsical style, she aims to bring more joy and positivity into our everyday lives. With her lively spirit, Julia is emerging into the public and community-engaged art world because she strongly believes in the power of art and its ability to help improve our mental health and cultivate human connection.
“So for my design, this was originally based on the theme of ‘new beginnings, hope, and optimism’, and I wanted to create something that would truly honour the rich culture of the Portuguese people. And so I created this modern-meets-traditional design. I used these really vibrant colours that would celebrate the energy of the Rooster itself, in order to emanate from the sculpture for locals and visitors alike.
“On the shape of the Rooster itself, I created these bold, organic, playful pieces that would fit together like illuminated stained glass work. The patterns that live within these shapes, they’re kind of my abstract interpretation of Portuguese folk art embroidery, with a whimsical twist in there. Also inspired by my travels to Portugal in 2013, I’ve used these contrasting colours of yellows and blues that dance together in a lovely harmony, representing the everlasting sunshine and sparkling blue waters of the landscape.
And with these details, I kind of hope that people will appreciate them the closer they come to look at the sculpture and act as hidden gems for people to discover that makes public art so exciting. And I hope to bring this playful, positive representation of Little Portugal to life and really reflect on the importance of the Rooster.” – Julia Prajza
We thank all of the Artists who dedicated their thoughtfulness and creativity to this important community art installation. We treasure all of your designs, and hope that we can work together again in the future.
Special thanks to Daniel Faria, Daniel Faria Gallery; Jeff Hoedeman, Lakeview Avenue Residents Association; Danielle Hyde; AnaBela Taborda, IC Savings, LPD BIA Chair; Rita Sousa Tavares, Consulate of Portugal in Toronto, Cultural Attaché and Vitor Santos, President of The Barcelos Migrant Association.
Thanks also, to Senso Group, Clay and Paper Theatre, Da Corte Construction, and countless business and community volunteers who helped bring our Rooster home.
For more on the story of the Little Portugal Toronto Barcelos Rooster, visit Artist Julia Prajza Rooster Highlights
You can still stop by IC Savings at 1168 Dundas St. West to view all five Top Designs for Little Portugal Barcelos Rooster Project.