As a part of the Festival Inspire in Moncton, more than a dozen new large scale murals are going up on buildings around the city’s core.

This year many of the artists are making a statement. The largest mural the festival has ever seen is going up on the side of an 11-storey building at the Université de Moncton

“It's a tip of the hat and also recognition of the Mi'kmaq people because we are on unseeded land, Mi'kmaq territory,” says Inspire Festival co-founder Matthew Williston.

It’s a 41-metre high mural depicting Molly Muise, one of the first Mi'kmaq women to be photographed.

A mural by Portuguese artist Bordalo II is also making a statement. With its bright colours and unique use of texture, the ‘Half Wood Turtle’ is turning heads on the Moncton waterfront. It’s the second of its kind in North America to use garbage to create art.

“He is really an environmental activist, and through his art he brings light of how much plastic and trash we throw away,” says Williston.

The mural uses more than a quarter tonne of trash taken from local landfills, bringing light to the plea of turtles trying to make their homes along the banks of Petitcodiac Village.

Moncton artist Mathieu Francoeur, who assisted on the project, says it’s always something he has wanted to do.

“I got to dirty my hands, use the power tools, paint, all the stuff I always dreamed of doing but never had a venue to do,” Francoeur says.

Since its inception three years ago, Festival Inspire has brought 35 pieces of art to the Greater Moncton area. Now hundreds of artists from across the globe are applying to take part in garnishing the city with art.

“Now we have public access to contemporary art where you don't have to go in a gallery,” says Williston. “It breaks down all those barriers, it's not about language, race, colour, gender, anything. Everyone can enjoy it,” Williston says.

The festival kicked off on Monday and will run until Sunday.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Cami Kepke.