Street Art brothers Icy and Sot once again lead by example with their latest act of artivism at a refugee camp in Greece.
People chased from their homes by wars in places like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are now part of a larger conversation in Europe as countries struggle to accept the massive numbers of refugees in the last decade. On the Greek island of Lesbos, the overcrowding of a camp named Moria has produced Olive Grove, a temporary place full of tents, but little nature.
With a goal of softening the hardship for people living here, Icy and Sot raised money through a print sale online and with the proceeds purchased fresh flowering plants to give away. “It was wonderful to see that actually put a smile on peoples’ faces for a moment,” they say in a press release.
While they have traveled around many international cities in the last five years creating site-specific interventions that contemplate issues of immigration, environmental degradation, and endangered species, the artists felt that the gravity of this place merited something more than just an art installation.
Working with a group calledMovement on the Ground and with Doug Gillen of Fifth Wall TV in tow, the two helped build raised gardens and planted vegetables, in addition to handing out many potted plants. Today we have images of persons in the camp from Icy & Sot along with the new video, one of Doug’s best.
It’s a simple act full of symbolism and invokes the power of the natural world in healing our many wounds. “We know this project didn’t really change anything for those people,” the say, “They come to Europe to be far from the dangers of war, far from hearing bomb explosions, for a better future for their kids. They have had an exhausting journey and they deserve better. They deserve our support.”
Springtime makes you do spontaneous acts of nature – like running to the local plant store or corner deli to buy a plant for your mom, or your grandma, or that colorful guy who runs the laundromat on the corner.
There is something very gratifying in the act of giving a living thing to another person that makes you feel grounded to the earth, connected to the family of humanity.
For the next five days Street Art brothers Icy & Sot are giving us all an opportunity to give plants to people who live in refugee camps, while they wait for a better future.
With the goal of improving quality of life and fortifying the dignity of the refugee population in Greece, Icy & Sot will be in Lesvos in person next month to hand out plants to the people there together with the foundation Movement On The Ground .
For the next five days, until April 22nd at midnight (EST) you can help by purchasing their new print, “Giving Plant”.
“The Idea is to give hope and joy to the people in the refugee camps while they are waiting for a better future,” says Sot.
“Basically with buying a print you are buying plants for the refugees,” explains Icy.
Please Click on the link below to purchase the print:
Please forward this link to friends and family as well – It’s an excellent way to give and show support in a place where nature will be welcomed.
From Movement On The Ground Website: Movement On The Ground, is a group of independent business people responding to a humanitarian crisis affecting the innocent men, women, and children forced from their homes by climate change, poverty, and war. Movement On The Ground sets a new blueprint for humanitarian help worldwide.
The organization aims to maintain a fixed presence on the island of Lesvos. They work as much as possible with the local community in the attempt to connect locals with refugees. Their projects are all based on the goal of improving dignity for the refugee population.
If your house is destroyed and you are chased from your neighborhood by bombs, anything that recalls normalcy is welcomed. Street Artist Karl Addison tells us a recent project with two other artists where he hopes their painting gave residents a sense of hope for their future.
Based in an abandoned textile factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, the individual tented rooms are in rows on large open floors with common areas created for kitchens and space for children to play. Outside in the parking lot Karl smashed the walls with an ocean of blues over the course of six days – something comforting and reassuring perhaps.
“We were creating the artwork with the objective to make the place feel more like a home than an old factory,” Karl says, and she says that he invited people to be a part of the process of art making “hoping to inspire or provide some sort of normalcy to their lives.”
Mostly families from Aleppo, Syria, many of these families were previously in other camps and “have been split up along the journey and/or the war from their homes,” he says.
“I wanted to paint some of the kids from the home and only managed to do two portraits. For the rest of the canvas, we engaged the kids to put the theory of Abstract painting into practice. Inspiring them with contemporary painters like Rothko, Pollock & Cy Twombly. The movement and mark of paint becoming their expression.” An unusual exposure to 20th century painting, no doubt, and one that some of the kids got to participate in as well.
The project is sponsored and organized by apART, an organization that brings arts into places like the Elpida Refugee Home. Karl would like to thank Sam from apART, as well as give a shout out to the two other artists who were working at the camp with him, Billy (*http://www.billycolours.com/), and David Shillinglaw (*http://davidshillinglaw.co.uk/).
“I can only hope that during the time we were there, there was a difference made. If it’s a particular painting, phrase, or text from the beautiful artworks,” he says, his intention was to show “empathy for other humans in need – involvement through compassion.”
As bankers put the final screws to the people of Greece with crushing unsustainable debt and Greece itself struggles with a flood of Syrians fleeing that war-torn country, art on the street is expressing some of the virulent discontent of the everyday people who are watching the economic ground slip out from beneath.
“Rage is all over, you can feel it just by looking all around you,” says photographer and BSA contributor Aline Mairet who shares new images from Athens today with you. The city itself is covered with graffiti tags and political sentiments but the police take almost no interest in the expression of speech that manifests in this way. Curiously, commercial interests do.
“I saw a street artist, Nikos Tsounakas, working illegally on his piece,” Aline says as she describes shooting him while he worked. “He explained to me that the only problems he encountered are with the advertisers and their displays, but really not with the police!”
The large mural that has most people engaged and talking with one another is the sleeping figure by Street Artist WD. Entitled “No Land for the Poor,” it lays out the impact of and ultimate economic violence that is happening to people who are dispossessed of home and country.
Another less elaborate but poignant shot is the black text that reads ‘λάθος‘, translated as ‘mistake’.
Shout out to all the great Swoon fans we met last night during the artists talk with her. All the seats were filled so it was standing room only in the back but yet it felt so intimate. Ya’ll are stupendous and smart and handsome and beautiful and we were honored to be with you.
Shout out to the family of American blues institution BB King who passed on this week. His music and talent influenced so many. Sending love and condolences to his family and friends.
Let’s see what Jeffery Deitch has in store for Smorgasburg Coney Island starting this week in preparation for the Memorial Day weekend opening – published reports have the roster of street artists at 15 but we’re hearing closer to 25 will be hitting up temporary concrete walls in this outdoor gallery he is doing in partnership with a large real estate firm to promote the new Coney Island. Some names you’ll recognize are old skool 70s-80s train writers like Lee Quinones, Crash, Daze, Lady Pink, Futura, and new people he has been reaching out to from the 2000s and 2010s scene who we bring you regularly like How & Nosm, Skewville, Steve Powers, possibly even ROA . This list will surely grow as word gets out and artists besiege Mr. Deitch to participate. The full installation is to last a month and will be surely caught on film and timelapse video.
Meanwhile, here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Alexis Diaz, Alka Murat, Appleton, Marco Berta, Blaqk Blaqk, City Kitty, Creepy Creep, Dain, Dasic Fernandez, Duke A. Barnstable, Elsa Sauguet, Eva & Adele, Ever, Goldman Rats, Ines Maas, JR, Penny Gaff, Robert Janz, Sebastian Reinoso Salinas, Seikon Stav6, and Swoon.
” ‘头部 (The Head)’ is an art installation based on the analysis of Chinese Communist posters. When the posters represent the ‘idea’, people are always down the picture and the Mao Tse Tung portrait always floating in heaven, protecting that theory founded in the Russian winters. When they want to describe the pragmatics, Mao is cultivating flowers, going to visit schools, etc.
The idea with ‘The Head’ is to think why the “communist theory” fails in its application to reality, and this is because many times the idea has to be corresponded o taken through a body, a body that exercises the idea, that exercises power. That’s why, part of the installation that we present here, invites people to get into the head, so we all can have the feeling that we are not loyal to the theory; the idealization is as dangerous as it is obsessive.”
And we cannot believe the stunning amount of new stuff on the street: here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Blanco, Bradley Theodore, Damien Mitchell, Damon, Dan Witz, Dennis McNett, Dr. NO, Flood, Fra Biancoshock, Icy & Sot, JR, Myth, Olek, Sean 9 Lugo, Simek, Snow White, Sonni, TV with Cheese, and Winston the Whale.
Street Artist Blanco shares his new piece this week in Albany and in his description of it below you may draw a connection between recreation of old stories and myths and the recreation of our cities through gentrification as well – although he doesn’t specifically address the latter.
” This work was kind of inspired by my interest in the common roots of divergent cultures. An example is the eytemology of Dyaus Pitra (Sky Father, Hindu) = Zeus Pater(Father of Gods, Greek) = Ju Piter (God of the Sky, Roman). I am interested in the way that cultures evolve, split off and borrow from one another and how its all mixed back together. The way some Mongolian friends of mine revere Buddhist monasteries, consult shamans and consider themselves Christians or The way the Aztec mother goddess Tonantzin was transformed into the Catholic ‘Our Lady Of Guadalupe’. We are sometimes led to believe its all black and white but its not usually so simple. Cross cultural heritage and mixing have always interested me but Joseph Campbell wrote about this aspect of religion and story telling in a very interesting way.
In some ways modern cities bear some resemblance to this cross pollination as neighborhoods and buildings are transformed, converted and reclaimed.
Specifically for this piece I was interested in the Proto-Indo-European Mother Goddess and the way she was changed, destroyed, recycled and recreated as the Hindu goddess Kali. She is associated with the ability and powers for both creation and destruction.” ~ Blanco
“When I received the invitation to take part in a street art festival in Athens I thought I would try to paint a wall speaking about the problems of Greece and in particular to speak about the consequences of the crisis they are experiencing,” says UNO of his invitation to participate in the first Athens Street Art Festival. Ironically, he says, the piece he had in mind never made it onto the actual street, but we’re bringing it to you here since he made the effort.
“A few weeks before my departure I heard the news about the closing (obscuring) of Greek public TV, so I decided to paint a wall with the words ‘obscure this’ as a provocation,” says UNO of his original plan to paint a large scale wall addressing the sudden shutdown in June that many journalists in Europe have charged is a form of censorship. Unfortunately when he arrived he learned that the wall he had planned could not happen because of logistic problems, he says, so he did this version inside the School of Fine Arts before heading back to Italy.
As the USA is celebrating the anniversary of it’s declared independence from Great Britain today we bring you a few shots of new Street Art from that city widely held as the birthplace of democracy around 508 BCE, Athens. They have just completed their first Street Art festival ever, which organizers say is a non profit attempt to promote social conscience and action through art, and French artist FKDL was a part of it. Here are a few photos from the streets of Athens for BSA readers.
The Athens festival included these participating artists:
Fred Le Chevalier (F), Milo Art (F), Bastek (F), Icks (It), Uno (It), Kashink (F), Losotros X Mj Tom (GR), Btoy (SP), Gregos (F), Kouka (FR), Rabea Senftenberg (Berlin), Thom Thom (FR), Franck Duval (FR). Special thanks to Franck Duval for these images.
Guess it shouldn’t surprise us when we find out that the sticker, wheat-paste, or mural we published of “Street Art” or graffiti actually turns out to be a logo or promotion for someone who is selling sneakers, t-shirts, lip-gloss, tampons, or toe fungus spray. That’s how people pay the rent, yo!
After all, we get press releases all the time from “Street Artists” who purport to get up all over the place in their home city of New Jesusville – but nobody we talk to has heard of them. Eventually word gets around and its not our business to trash people. And we all know at least one or two fine artists who have used the strategy of putting their stuff on the street to add some sort of “cred” to their “brand”. Fine. And look at the countless corporate names that have been inserting (or “integrating”) themselves into all manner of social/electronic media and “stories” in the last couple of years – just to leach off grassroots D.I.Y. culture and make the money and get the clicks but not actually support the art community that birthed it. It’s a complex story.
But it’s hard not to feel a little bit like you just got punked when you walk into a store and find the stuff you shot in a putrid garbage strewn alley is now silk-screened across a cheap flask or frisbee or truckers cap, giving it about as much meaning as a Kardashian wedding ring.
What are we going to do? Oh probably nothing – there is no purity test or reliable scale for measuring when someone has “sold out” and we don’t like pompous peeps who pretend otherwise. We’re just keeping an eye out, sister, and trying not to get fooled again.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Alinic, ASK, BAMN, Chris & Veng RWK, Gilf!, Icy & Sot, Lambros, Meer Sau, Mosstika, MUDA, Pixote, Tripel, and WD.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Amanda Marie, Blaqk, Brian Scott, Cash For Your Warhol, Elbowtoe, Elmer, Ismael, Joe Iurato, Lamarid, Rae, Specter, Veng RWK, and Willow.