This Montreal artist is bringing people together (with Beyoncé)

Her GIFs of Drake, Rihanna and A$AP Rocky appear on Exhibitionists this week, but Niti Marcelle Mueth's art is about more than celebrity. The University of Montreal student creates portraits that celebrate diversity while finding what connects us as people. Sometimes, the thing that unites us is Beyoncé...

Like most of the world, Niti Marcelle Mueth loves pop stars, but her art is about more than celebrity

Wave your hands side to side, put it in the air. Montreal artist Niti Marcelle Mueth is this week's Exhibitionist in Residence. (Niti Marcelle Mueth)

You know the men and women in Niti Marcelle Mueth's artwork.

Drake and Rihanna "Work, work, work, work," working it…


And A$AP Rocky…

Those clips and more, like hand-drawn music videos in electric colour, will appear on CBC Television Sunday when Mueth serves as our latest Exhibitionist in Residence

She's a 20-year-old student at the University of Montreal, and like most people with a tumblr blog — and just most of us, period — Mueth loves pop stars. But her art isn't about celebrity, she explains.

It's more about what connects us as individuals, and believe it or not, the world shares more than a secular worship of Beyoncé. (If she unites humanity in Destiny's Child-style harmony, though, no complaints…)

Portraits are everywhere in Mueth's work, whether you browse her portfolio on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube (where the graphic designer is launching a new series of drawing tutorials).

"I think it's important to show diversity in my art," she says. A native Montrealer with Haitian and Cameroonian roots, young men and women of every colour (including electric purple) feature in Mueth's artwork, paintings and digital drawings of the artist's IRL friends and Internet pals. Earlier this winter, she presented a solo exhibition of these works in Montreal, called DiverCité

"Growing up I felt a lack of acceptance," says the artist. "I was introverted, which didn't help. Sometimes it was hard because I was the only black person in my program, so it's not easy to hide, and I just felt like I had to do more to prove myself, not just in school, but in daily life."

Everyone should feel like they belong, Mueth says, and her practice is all about that — celebrating difference, while finding common bonds. Portraits, she says, are a profound way to make that kind of basic, human connection. "We all have faces," she says. "I think that makes it really easy to relate. … we are all different."

Want more from Niti Marcelle Mueth? Visit her website and watch Exhibitionists online or Sunday at 4:30 p.m. (5 NT) on CBC Television.