By Lisa Petrillo

Wynwood (CBSMiami)- Just inside the colorful murals that make up the wonders of Wynwood Walls is Goldman Global Arts Gallery or GGA, where artist Peter Tunney has curated quite the exhibit featuring works by French artist Mantra. It’s called Metamorphosis.

“I’m personally hungry for a lightness of being, and a little bit of joy. Everything is so heavy,” said Tunney. “With Mantra, it’s about as light as beautiful as I can get and he’s a special guy.”

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Set in a rainforest backdrop, Mantra, whose real name is Yuri Cansell, is presenting his first-ever gallery showing. 

Known for his beautiful murals on buildings across the globe, the French-born painter is a self-taught street artist who has always been at one with nature.

Butterflies are his muse.

“It’s reflecting years of patience and years of painting of how I became a painter, while I was a child, I was dreaming to become a naturalist. So, it’s just reflecting really my identity of who I am,” Mantra said,

The exhibit features 14 paintings of butterflies from around the world. Places where Mantra has studied them. From the U.S to Costa Rica, Mexico and more.

“The right question that always comes is why butterflies?” he said. “There are many answers. But one of them can be that they are unpredictable and apart from that everybody has their own connection and links to those small animals.”

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His attention to every detail is what caught the eye of Tunney who wanted to bring Mantra him to Miami for the first time.

“Every butterfly in here is scientifically and anatomically correct and he interacts with a scientific world so they will check them,” Tunney said.

“It’s a long journey before jumping into the studio and starting to paint to really investigate the form, the size, the colors and then the scale between all of them,” Mantra explained.

“The details need lots of dedication which I love because it’s part of the reflection in the journey I went through for the piece.”

Mantra hopes art lovers will come together and find joy in his paintings and unity. Something he’s experienced all his life when studying the majestic creatures.

All the pieces are for sale. The gallery exhibit is free to those who have already purchased their entrance ticket to Wynwood Walls.

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Metamorphosis is on now through November 15th.

Lisa Petrillo