I’ve never really been a fan of grafitti, even as a teenager it struck me as primitive. I understood that certain elements were tribal, that it was a way of letting everyone know exactly who’s ‘Hood they were in, but it also had something desperate about it. “Tagging” was somehow canine, a dog marking his favorite route.
But Street Art is a slightly different thing – it is usually less destructive and less scattershot. I guess you could also consider it Environmental Art, in the sense that it gets placed into our everyday surroundings.
But what I really like about Street Art is that it eschews the usual cycle of mega gallerists, celebrity artists and big money collectors. Simply put: you can’t really own street art.
One project I really admire is called Women Are Heroes. It’s done by a 25 year-old artist who goes by JR. He photographs women across the world, in this case in countries like Sudan, Sierra Leone, but also Cambodia and Laos, as well as Brazil. Then he prints extreme enlargements of the images, and wallpapers the sides of buildings in the neighborhoods of the women he documents… but then also posts them in a very large format in Western cities.
As the site explains:
The Women project wants to underline thier pivotal role and to highlight their dignity by shooting them in their daily lives and posting them on the walls of their country.
On the other hand, by posting the same images of these women in Western countries, the project allows everyone to feel concerned by their condition and connect through art, the two different worlds.
Check these out:
…and here’s one in Brussels…
These images are all from a favela in over Rio called Providencia. Check out JR’s site to learn more. Really impressive work.