Eighteen months after Ariel Kouakou was reported missing from his Ahuntsic-Cartierville home, a Montreal-based artist is trying to make sure he isn’t forgotten.
Artist Julian Palma Luque said he was moved by the story of the missing boy and, as a father himself, wanted to do something to help.
“We cannot forget these events,” he said.
That’s why he decided to create a mural in honour of Ariel.
The mural can be best seen from an alley between 7th and 8th avenues, below Masson Street, in Rosemont.
It was painted on the back of a residential building as part of the Canettes de Ruelle festival.
The Rosemont street art festival invited Palma Luque to contribute, and he proposed a mural of Kouakou.
Palma Luque reached out to Ariel’s father, Frédéric Kouakou, for approval before moving forward with the artwork.
“I feel like he was open to the proposition I made. He’s a great human being,” Palma Luque told CBC’s Let’s Go.
The two met in person last weekend and Palma Luque said it was an “amazing” moment.
Creating the mural was a family affair, with Palma Luque’s father flying up from Colombia to help.
It took them about two days to paint it over Labour Day weekend.
Kouakou was last seen along the Rivière-des-Prairies on March 12, 2018. He was walking home from a friend’s house when he disappeared.
A police investigation concluded the boy had likely slipped into the water and drowned after being swept away by the currents.
His body was never found.
The family however, believes the boy was abducted.
Palma Luque said he sides with the family in believing the search isn’t over.
“I’m waiting for Ariel to come back home,” Palma Luque said.