[dropcap size=small]Y[/dropcap]ou would be hard pressed to find a more charismatic shop than Monastiraki. For the Mile-End community, the curiosity shop and art gallery is a beloved fixture, where people go for art prints, posters, small press, zines, vintage treasures and strange bits of ephemera that they can’t find anywhere else. For the shop’s owners, Emilie O’Brien and Billy Mavreas, it is simply “an assemblage of things we love, and things we love to do.”
The creation of two artists—O’Brien is a sculptor and poet, while Mavreas is a cartoonist and illustrator—it’s easy to see how Monastiraki’s collection and presentation have been shaped by its owners’ own quirks. The shop, which once belonged to Mavreas’s father, was passed on to him back in 2000. Transforming it into both a gallery for Canadian artists and a curated collection of one-of-a-kind gems, the space has been an affectionate extension of their personalities ever since.
Along with selling unique items and art pieces, they also do monthly exhibits, creative workshops for children and adults, and various events for Montreal’s arts community. The shop just celebrated its sweet sixteen — to commemorate their contributions of beauty and wonder to the area over so many years, here’s a look inside the wonderful Monastiraki.
Photo series by Vinna Laudico.
Text by Leah Concepcion-Vanderbyl.