Part of the lore surrounding graffiti and Street Art is that you are at some point playing cat and mouse with the police and probably doing illegal work and will possibly land in jail because of it. Opposite that stereotypical lore is the story where the Street Artist goes into jail specifically to paint, or to teach about art making.
It happens all the time.
Olek went to jail in Poland, both JR and Eine went to New York’s Rikers Island, and organizations like Young New Yorkers and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Restorative Justice program routinely benefit from the volunteerism of Street Artists who give their talents and time to people caught up in the criminal justice system. So much for the simplicity of stereotyping.
Today we have a fresh new piece from Street Artist Bifido, who just created this work in the Istituto Penitenziario Minorile di Airola, a prison for youth in Airola, Italy. Entitled “Bluebird” it contains metaphors about freedom that one could easily read into. “My work speaks of hope and a desire for rebirth that a person in prison can have and of the possibility for them to reinvent their life,” says the artist.
“In the prison I explained to the young people there about what street art is and taught them some techniques about creating art,” he says of the experience. “I talked with them about how an artist feels painting or making something on the street. They assisted me during the work and we worked together.”
Bifido. Ariola, Italy. 2014 (photo © Bifido)
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