Five Latin American Graffiti Artists Making a Statement

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This article by Pravina Chetty for Near Shore Americas includes two graffiti artists from the Caribbean. Here they are. For the complete report follow the link below.

Long gone are the days when graffiti was scribbled on a wall by a hip hop youth in baggy clothes with a spray can in the New York underground. Graffiti has transformed into a culture, a way of life, a voice and, of course, an art form.

The culture is spreading around the world and giving birth to some of the most memorable contemporary artists in society – like the English graffiti artist known as Banksy, who had his work on display in the Louvre in Paris and sold some of his creation’s selling for as much as £50,000 ($78,435).

These street artists not only transform the city walls into an art gallery, but allow voices from different communities be heard. Nearshore Americas showcases five well-known graffiti artists from Latin America, uncovering their roots and reasoning behind their work.

Alexis DiazThe man with magnificent lines, Alexis Diaz from Puerto Rico brings us art on a grand scale. I often hunt down graffiti while traveling and for me stumbling upon his work was like finding gold. These gigantic murals (see above) with such intricate details, lines and concepts inspire me to sit and stare at them for hours. His style is unique and sets him apart from the rest, with each piece featuring an animal that transforms into another animal, a skeleton or a hand, set on the backdrop of a vibrant colour. Diaz pushes the boundaries of imagination with these murals that have adorned buildings in London and Montreal. His worked was featured as one of the Best Street Art and Graffiti of 2014 by Complex Magazine.

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El SextoRecently arrested by the Cuban government, this Cuban graffiti artist does more than just make art. He uses graffiti as a platform to showcase his views on Cuba, on the government and on freedom, with his art pieces and pamphlets, as well as his recent ‘almost’ performance where he bought two pigs, named them Fidel and Raúl, and was planning on roasting them to fed the people. This ‘almost’ act was enough to see him incarcerated. “I am everywhere…” is his tagline, and he is thought to voice the sentiments of many.

His tagging around Havana has made him infamous, with many seeing his work as a sign of hope, in a country where freedom of expression is limited. He was recently awarded the Haval prize for Creative Dissent which commends him in his ongoing fight for democracy. The Voice Project is campaigning for his release.

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Whether it be for art or to make a statement, graffiti has come a long way from its hip hop days. With it no longer seen as vandalism, these graffiti artists in Latin America are paving the way for new voices to be heard and new avenues to be created. From tagging a name under a bridge to that signature someday being worth millions, be on the look out when you travel as you might spot one of their pieces in the most unlikely of places.

For the original report go to www.nearshoreamericas.com/latin-american-graffiti-artists-making-statement/

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