Owing to the scarceness of resources that are usually
allotted to those who arrive as refugees, Street Artist and muralist Sebastien
Waknine relies solely upon the thinnest piece of charcoal as he works on this
“Learning from Migrants and Refugees” is the name of the collection
of scenes that document the situations that people can be in when escaping from
strife and fear – the human aspect of appealing to the help of another society.
After five weeks of intensive work, Waknine stood aside during a public
introduction as a Syrian man held the microphone and described the scenes to an
assemble crowd in Barcelona.
in the gardens on the Hospital of Sant Pau in Barcelona, the mural was
commissioned by the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and will be exhibited in
various locations within the city of Barcelona.
say that the mural highlights the journey of refugees from the ravages of war
and poverty in their countries as well as the realities of their living conditions
in their host countries.
It is an unusual technique for a public work these days, as
many have become accustomed to the splashy nature of big murals and festivals
that present them. Here the warmth of the rendering and the humanity conveyed
in the faces and gestures is only magnified when one gets close enough, even
intimate with, the artwork.
The detached impersonal nature of war by drone has enabled
such masses of people to be uprooted and chased from their lives – and a viewer
may contrast the experience of the driver of that drone drawn in the sky with
close-up terror of innocents whom Waknine depicts.
“It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reasons for living.”
French existentialist, feminist, and intellectual Simone de Beauvoir saw the hell created by us and held us accountable to be performative agents in actively transcending the facts of our existence. Since April three artists have been depicting that hell on the exterior wall of Torrent de les Bruixes Institute in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, and they give Ms. De Beauvoir heroic role, triumphal; rising untouched and ebullient above the pit of vipers, monsters, dragons and fantastical embodiments of evils.
They call it “La Clausura Del Infierno”, roughly translated as “The Closing of Hell”. Perhaps it could be called “The Opening of Hell” as well.
Because we know you love to see the process as well as the final piece, here is a prime example of how the artists conceive the beginning of a mural by codifying colors. It is impressive how artists Sebastien Waknine, Simón Vázquez, and Juanjo Surace decided to sketch the forms and composition on the wall, using colors and shapes as code.
Our special thanks to photographer Lluís Olivé Bulbena, who shares these images with BSA readers.
A well branded cultural initiative brings for the second edition a festival of art, music, craft beer, food trucks, workshops to the village of Penelles in Spain, including 900 square meters of murals in this town with farmer roots and low one story buildings.
It has become almost a formula for cities and municipalities to inject a youthful culture and energy into an area – as you may expect, it is about striking a balance and treating all of your artists well and creating a mixture of events and opportunities for the people to engage with the scene. Even when the population of your Catalonian town is a little less than 500 people.
GarGar2 just happened in May with about 30 artists displaying public art in disciplines that touch on almost all of the currently used styles on the street; aerosol, wild style, figurative, illustration, neo-realism, photorealist, commercially slick, folk heroism, calligraphy, text based, pop art, abstract optics, political commentary, brush paint, stencil, craft, crochet, primitive sculpture… Organizers have studied the websites and social postings and surveyed closely what is happening in the mural/Street Art scene and are presenting a cross-section of at least one example of every category.
The somewhat arid agricultural community is spread out over many small roads and fields of wheat, rye, and corn. Old buildings are used for small art exhibitions and music venues – with many of the performing solo artists and ensembles playing a familiar mix of folk, jazz, afrocarribean, and electronic genres that merge local with international tastes.
It is a polished presentation meant to draw attention to the town, and we are thankful to photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena for capturing some of the images from this year’s festival. Following it is a video from last years’ GarGar.
One of the most active artists in the streets creating in a variety of styles of work that lean toward realism and sometimes tilt into fantasy and exaggerated caricature the London born Waknine decided to do this mural on Selva de Mar to speak to the pure human factors in a refugee crisis that grips much of the developed and developing world.
The new work captures the raw human emotions of fear, desperation and distress of people afloat on rough waters. Somehow Waknine also brings dignity to the harrowing scene and references classical painting, as he has on walls in his travels to countries like Mexico, France, Israel, Germany, and England.
As some societies open their doors to help those fleeing war and imminent danger it seems unthinkable to do anything less for the least of these.
Summertiiiiiiiiiiimmme, and the living is eaaaaassssssyyyyy. Yessir, today is the first day of Summer here in New York and the longest day of the year – which means you can take a nap under a tree in the park or on your towel at the beach and still have plenty of time to play when you wake up. There are abandoned buildings to explore, murals to paint, wheat-pastes to stick, interventions to engineer, stencils to cut, selfies to snapchat, potato chips to eat, beer to swig. That couch by the window is calling me even now, the big temptress, as she does so often on these languorous days, induced by the heat. But I will not heed her siren song.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Bezt, Buff Monster, Dain, Dee Dee, Faile, Fra. Biancoshock, Free Humanity, Gold Loxe, Li-Hill, Natalia Rak, Okuda, Old Broads, Phoebe, Sophia Hirsch and Johannes Mundinger, and Simon Vazquez and Sebastien Waknine.