Cyclist Memorials: The Andrew Project

andrew project graham hill photo

Image credit: Graham Hill

For a number of weeks the walls, hoardings, abandoned windows and parking receipt machines of Toronto have been covered with enigmatic posters of a young man, labelled "Andrew." It turns out they are a kind of transatlantic memorial to a dead bicyclist, Andrew Mackenzie Hull, architect and film-maker, killed in London in a bicycle accident in May.

andrew project graham photo

Image credit Graham HIll

David Topping writes in the Torontoist:

The posters were made by Shaan Syed, an artist and Hull's long-time partner. Hull, a filmmaker among other things, had been finishing a thriller called Siren in London, [UK] where the two lived together, when he died.

Syed explains the purpose of the project to Torontoist:

"As an artist it seemed a natural way for me to pay tribute to Andrew, but also to raise questions around ideas of absence versus presence," Syed told Torontoist. "The project is indeed a direct tribute to Andrew and a performance or exercise in public grieving, yet the tribute is so much more as well. It's a tribute to a punk DIY mentality, to a questioning of advertising and the image. It's a rejection of clarity, information, and answers, and an embracing of ambiguity and the idea of not knowing." (That's regardless, he explains later, of whether some people now know who the "Andrew" is, and who put his face around Toronto.) "It's an experiment in memory, time, and permanence. It's an examination of geography and gentrification, vandalism and beautification. It's a celebration of city textures and derelict back alleys. In all of this, for me it is a tribute. "

Cyclist memorials are usually more anonymous, such as the Ghost Bikes that have become common in urban centers. The Andrew Project is everywhere, and it is tough.

More in Torontoist.

More on Andrew Hull in the Globe and Mail
Cyclist Memorials:
Taking Back the Streets: Cyclist Memorials
Ghost Bikes: A Memorial to Cyclists : TreeHugger
New York City To Remove "Eyesore" Ghost Bikes

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