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September 20, 2024 - March 2, 2025 Admission

Born in Metz, France, in 1987, Youri Cansell, internationally recognized as Mantra, is a consummate artist and naturalist. Equally skilled at depicting both humans and animals, Mantra exhibits a special fascination with entomology—the world of insects. Drawing inspiration from his childhood garden in France and his adventures around the globe, he now creates exquisite paintings and murals, often featuring moths and butterflies, on canvas and cityscapes. With acute sensitivity to his surroundings, Mantra works to create organic relationships between his subjects and their environments. His renderings of infinitely varied species are spectacularly beautiful and scientifically accurate to the smallest detail. Significantly, he frequently represents these creatures on large facades as if they were lifeless specimens showcased in an exhibition case—a poignant commentary on the alarming decline in biodiversity.

From upscale architectural complexes in New York City to rural community projects and prominent institutional buildings in South America, Mantra’s public art finds its place amidst diverse urban backdrops. His remarkable proficiency in “trompe l’oeil” techniques, paired with his passion for nature and human experience, not only enlivens cities across the world but also draws attention to critical global concerns such as climate change and the urgent need to raise awareness of and preserve natural ecosystems. When he is not immersed in artwork at his studios in Mexico City, Mantra engages in explorations and collaborates with researchers in the field of entomology worldwide.


This exhibition is curated by Justkids.

Justkids is an award-winning art consulting firm specializing in design, curatorial, and production services for creative place making and public art. With over a decade of experience and a broad international network of leading contemporary artists and curators, Justkids helps diverse urban players—including cities, architects, and institutions—to drive culture and create memorable art encounters for varied communities and audiences. Since 2018, Justkids has collaborated with Mantra and accompanied his career on some of his major projects in the United States and Europe.