Mystery posters appear
The most interesting art has been shrouded in mystery. The true identity of Banksy, for example, a popular United Kingdom-based graffiti artist, has long been debated and sought after. In the past month, Kitchener-Waterloo has gained their own Banksy of sorts in a series of posters put up around the Region’s cities entitled “The Funner Sister.”
The poster in question features a young girl with edgy purple hair and various symbols, such as the University of Waterloo crest, smirking with the words “The Funner Sister—Kitchener” emblazoned on her chest.
“The ultimate goal is to give people something to wonder about. Posters normally advertise things like a band [coming to town]. So when you walk through the city you kind of assume that’s what you’re looking at but then you look closer and you realize that it’s not,” said the artist and creator of “The Funner Sister” who wished to remain anonymous. “It sort of makes the viewer pay attention and wonder what the point of this thing is that they’re looking at. I wanted to do that sense of questioning … the ultimate goal is just that — to make a bit of a mystery.”
Another goal of these posters, aside from creating some mystery, is to try to change the common misconceptions of Kitchener, which typically gets a poor reputation in comparison to that of Waterloo.
“I think that there’s a misconception that Kitchener is somehow, well I guess, that no one considers it. I think it’s a great place to live and there’s so much going on. They have such a great energy and that it wasn’t there like 10 years ago … it’s gone through so much change,” said the artist. “When you look at the manufacturing history of Kitchener and how many cool things have been made in the town and it’s neat to see all that stuff and see what’s going on with the tech community … people don’t think of Kitchener that way”
One of the only aspects surrounding the poster that isn’t mysterious is the inspiration for the title “The Funner Sister”— the artist stated that the inspiration for the name comes from the sister cities of Kitchener-Waterloo. The artist, a recent transplant to Kitchener who has lived in both cities, finds that the “vibe” and reputation of the two cities are completely different.
“I feel like from talking to the people around town that there wasn’t a great sense of identity or positivity around living in Kitchener. There are so many amazing things going on in Kitchener and so many young people who are moving to the downtown core that I just felt like it called for like some positivity. I wanted to give it a positive identity,” continued the artist.
The artist recently put up another similarly styled poster in Uptown Waterloo. It depicted an older style of Blackberry receiving an email with the content reading “the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse” which is a quote from the poem “O Me! O Life!” by Walt Whitman.
“The whole thing is a compliment,” said the artist on the lingering effects of the posters. “I’m focusing on the positive and giving people a bit of inspiration. I know it’s graffiti and that people will eventually take them down but hopefully they get stolen and that people identify with them.”