Once a renowned perpetrator of a rash of convenience store burglaries in Windsor that littered the headlines six years ago, Cody Farrugia has made an audacious return, this time, wielding brushes and colors as he unveils a provocative art collection. His new work is a raw and daring embodiment of inspiration, channeling elements from his notorious past.
In recent weeks, Farrugia’s art has seized a central place at the Colours of Resilience exhibit, housed at the iconic Windsor’s Artspeak Gallery. Curated by the impassioned Batool Yahya, the exhibit seeks to illuminate the artistry of individuals who have grappled with the harsh realities of homelessness in Windsor.
Farrugia recalls his initiation into the world of crime, recounting how the pain of his girlfriend’s death in September of 2017 plunged him into an abyss of darkness. That tragic episode marked the beginning of his descent into drugs and crime, initially motivated by the desperate need of a friend who was on the brink of homelessness.
Conceding that his first act of robbery transformed into an addictive thrill, Farrugia’s life took an unfortunate turn. Within a span of nine months, he staged six such exploits, earning the title of the ‘Mac’s Milk Bandit’.
The law finally caught up with him in 2018. Then just 20, he was arrested and spent the ensuing two-and-a-half years in prison. Reflecting on his imprisonment, Farrugia describes the period as a season of growth and personal transformation, a time where his passion for music and art began to take flight.
Embracing his newfound purpose, he carried this momentum into the creation of a rap album titled ‘The Mac’s Milk Bandit’ under the stage persona ‘Robbin’ Mac’s.’ His creative journey didn’t stop there. He went on to publish a comic book, an artistic biographic expression that draws from his controversial past.
His compelling comic artistry seized the attention of Batool Yahya during a workshop at the Windsor Youth Centre. Impressed and intrigued, Yahya explored ways to spotlight Farrugia’s work, resulting in the sale of posters and lamination of his comic book.
Yahya’s curated exhibit, the Colours of Resilience, was proudly displayed at Windsor’s Artspeak Gallery. Opening the doors to a dialogue on stereotypes and reformation, the exhibit showcased the contributions of those who had weathered the storm of homelessness. Disagreeing with the notion that a past criminal is eternally so, Yahya urges for empathy and the granting of second chances.
Delighted to reach a broader audience through the exhibit, Farrugia reflects, “I was once a criminal. You’re obviously going to see that in my art. But I’ve turned my life around and now aim to narrate my journey through the medium of music and art.” His greatest ambition is to triumph over his past by turning it into his most significant victory.
The Colours of Resilience display at the Artspeak Gallery concluded on August 27, but plans are already afoot for the exhibit’s return next year, featuring new pieces from a fresh cycle of artists.