Montrealer aims to 'Spread the Word' with positivity art project

Kesse Soumahoro might object to being introduced as an artist — he's got a background in electrical engineering, after all — but he loves to draw, and this year he decided to take his passion, and his positivity, to the streets.

Soumahoro is the man behind an art project called Passe le Mot / Spread the Word, where he re-purposes old election signs and other cardboard or plastic to make a collection of faces bearing messages of optimism and hope.

Passersby might have noticed these signs especially around the corner of De Bleury and Ste-Catherine streets, where a chain link fence acts as the makeshift gallery space for a number of cutout faces.

Isaac Olson/CBC

Soumahoro explained that he was inspired to post these images around town in the hopes that someone might see them and take their messages to heart.

"I was in a place in my life when I was not especially happy, feeling that I was not living up to my full potential," he told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

"When you walk in the street and you read something positive, maybe you smile or maybe it can motivate or inspire you."

He said that one day, while he was pinning up a set of faces, a couple came up to him and asked if they could write on a blank one.

Passe le Mot/Instagram

The man wrote a message of love to his girlfriend and this touched Soumahoro.

"That day I decided to leave a couple of the faces blank so people can write on it," he said.

He's also been sharing the images on his Instagram page, and says he's been getting a lot of positive feedback.

Soumahoro is hoping that other people will connect with the motivational messages he writes and be inspired "to spread love and tolerance around the city."