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Brooklyn Street Art

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“Decolonizing Street Art” Gives Voice to More than the Usual

Posted on October 11, 2014

Politically themed Street Art or murals have a long tradition – as long as people have had something to advocate for or against. The modern Street Art movement may trace its roots to political postering that came with the printing press or 20th century Mexican muralism or the 1968 student demonstrations around the world, especially in Paris – but artists have used and been used to communicate ideas and opinions in the public sphere much longer than this.

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Decolonize History.  Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Zola)

Today, whether it is the Arab Spring or the Occupy movement or simply a personal campaign to combat harassment by cat-callers or the economic violence of local gentrification, politically charged speech of one sort or another takes place on the street when artists give it voice.

“Decolonizing Street Art”, a festival an project that took place in August in Canada, convened with the idea that carrying issues directly to the public can affect opinions and possibly produce positive change for people whom the organizers would like to give voice to.

Since the high profile and increasingly moneyed version of the current Street Art festival scene is populated worldwide primarily by men with characteristics of the dominant culture, the organizers and participants of “Decolonizing Street Art” may also be commenting on that backdrop as well. Whatever the motivation, these are voices that not many hear or see.

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Decolonize History.  Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ ThiênViệt)

Hosted in and programmed “on unceded territory, in so-called Montreal”, this handful of artists speak of the indigenous people of the planet and the history of colonialism, the Arab/Israeli conflict, the poisoning of the environment and its effect on humans and animals, and the rights of many marginalized categories of people.

With a concentrated effort this first entry into a still-forming circuit of Street Art festivals and programs worldwide, Decolonizing Street Art makes a formal statement about making space for more radical views comparatively than one typically sees. Whether it is native communities or disenfranchised poor or disappeared women, this effort aims to bring more voices to the street to speak their truth.

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Zola.  Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Zola)

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LMNOPI.  Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ Thiên Việt)

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LMNOPI.  Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ Thiên Việt)

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LMNOPI.  Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ Thiên Việt)

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LMNOPI . Red Bandit . Swarm.  Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ Thiên Việt)

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Red Bandit.  Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ Thiên Việt)

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Swarm. Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ Thiên Việt)

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Swarm. Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ Thiên Việt)

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Pyramid Oracle. Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ Thiên Việt)

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Jessica Sabogal.  Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ Thiên Việt)

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David Rotten. Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ Thiên Việt)

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Chris Bose. Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Võ Thiên Việt)

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Chris Bose. Decolonizing Street Art festival. Montreal, Canada. August 2014. (photo © Zola)

To learn more about Decolonizing Street Art click HERE.

See videos from five of the participating artists on BSA Film Friday 10.10.14.

 

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