They are not staying quiet. If you had doubted the inclination of street artists to join the socio-political fray in 2020, don’t. Among the cute and decorative pieces out there, we are steadily discovering that artists are using the public sphere to take risks, addressing issues that are thorny and puzzling. As ever, the streets are a reflection of our society and all its fabulous dysfunction – a refreshing take on free speech that often makes much more sense than the disinformation war raging hourly right now on corporate media.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fu, Blood and Soul, Clint Mario, Faust, Gazoo to the Moon, Jarus, Maia Lorian, Pure Genius, Raddington Falls, Sticker Maul, Stikman, TV Head ATX, Will Pay, and Winston Tseng.
With giant murals at the forefront of the message, a recent Manhattan campaign of select walls is intended to make us talk and keep our eyes on an ugly social justice issue that organizers hope we can collectively address: child labor and forced labor.
Even in downtown NYC on Wall Street people will admit
that capitalism isn’t cool if we are doing it on the backs of children
somewhere. Nobody celebrates that. Do they?
With murals that advocate for “decent work”, asking us to create a better “future of work”, a small inspired group of international artists created impressive new works on Midtown’s East Side – roughly in the area of the United Nations.
Included in the group are Clandestinos (Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky), Faith 47, Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, Mr Cenz and Victor Ash. The collection is quite striking on city streets, as are the individual pieces. In fact each artist did their own interpretation of the overall theme by concentrating on direct and ancillary topics: green jobs, youth employment, gender equality at work, child labor and forced labor and the future of work.
Perhaps with some irony, the professionally rendered and emotionally stirring mural by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada (at end of posting) was completed in the face of multiple obstacles that plague Street Artists sometimes, just not usually all at once. Regardless, the piece has an overwhelming impact.
A former culture-jamming urban installation artist who garners serious respect on the street as well as in professional art-world circles, he soldiered on for an installation that included lift equipment failures and a series of uncommon logistical challenges that come with mounting one of New largest mural works on the side of a soaring building that has a relatively narrow city alley. Only Rodriguez-Gerada’s determined vision allowed him to endure through a seemingly relentless torrent of bitter cold rainy spring weather for weeks.
Nonetheless, the results of his work, and of all of these artists, are as remarkable as they are sweet. In the service of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and a philanthropic group called Street Art for Mankind (SAM) these works can hopefully help raise our consciousness and protect children from enslavement and harsh work globally. Remarkably, SAM is going to directly to the heart of the matter, funding efforts to “help fund raid & rescue programs to free children from slavery,” says their press release.
Victor Ash – Green Jobs
Clandestinos – Future of Work
Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada – Child & Forced Labor
To learn more about Street Art For Mankind click HERE
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. Banksy in Gaza: Vacation Promo
2. SOFLES Projection Mapping of His Mural in Melbourne
3.OLEK takes a Victory Lap Through 2014
4. Ben Eine Tags A Museum
Banksy in Gaza: Vacation Promo
This new video from Banksy takes you on a grim tour of Gaza that is laced with sarcasm bordering on total cynicism. Released on his website Wednesday with a few photos from his trip, Banksy appears to have stenciled the last standing door in the ruins of a building. The anonymous UK Street Artist uses his art and satirical way with the language to make his point. “Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no-one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons – they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost every day,” he says on his page. His video says he climbed through tunnels to get there but maybe Banksy was in Tony Blair’s suitcase – the UN website says the former Prime Minister of the UK was there mid-month. “Gaza is a metaphor for all that is wrong,” wrote Mr. Tony Blair in an article after visiting Gaza on 14 February.
SOFLES Projection Mapping of His Mural in Melbourne
Selina Miles again directs and produces a film of Sofles at work that transcends the experience and gives you a sense of awe at his work, which truthfully is already often awesome. We’ve been a fan of and producer of events with projection mapping so we are glad to see a talented street artist use the technology in an effective way. The video begins innocently enough with some inking out an illustration on a canvas, then buffing of a wall in Melbourne. Later the sun goes down, and BAM!
OLEK takes a Victory Lap Through 2014
Expect to see Olek everywhere, we do!
Ben Eine Tags A Museum
London based street and graffiti artist Ben Eine knocked out a wall inside the Middlebury College Museum of Art as part of the upcoming exhibition OUTSIDE IN: ART OF THE STREET.