In Brazil graffiti used to be considered illegal. Not seen as a form of artistic expression, graffiti was banned from all public spaces, while the “grafiteiros” (taggers) risked their lives in the middle of the night climbing walls and fences in order to leave their mark. The issue is that the grafiteiro just “wants to put his name on the wall, to be famous, and is a vandalist, but the [street] artist is interested in aesthetics and community”, says Rio street artist Smael Vagner.
Pichação (tagging) and grafite (graffiti) are two distinctive street art styles in Brazil. And it’s been a long journey for these street artists to convince the population, the city and the nation that their work is art, something that should be appreciated and valued.
Graffiti or street art increased so much in popularity and started getting large attention of street artists from around the world, that in March 2009, the Brazilian government passed a law making street art and graffiti legal, if done with the consent of building owners.
It is a huge step towards recognition, appreciation, reflection of the evolving landscape in Brazilian street art, an emerging and divergent movement in the global street art landscape. More than that, graffiti in Brazil is being used now to protect façades from pichação. Interestingly, some kind of ethic code in the graffiti world seems to exist between taggers and street artists; a tagger who imprints his marks on top of another street art is ultimately insulting the street artist, which is seen as breaking a “silent” code. It could even endanger in a dangerous rivalry between the two of them, something that the city, the people and the nation do not want to see: more violence.
In Rio de Janeiro, graffiti is everywhere. It exists in all corners of the city, from the favelas to upper class neighborhoods, from residential, commercial to institutional. It is bold in scale and aesthetics and is anything but graffiti. But graffiti art is not only an aesthetic choice, but an economic choice; painting a façade with art may be cheaper than another mode of beautification.
Personally, I think grafite brings more than decoration to a neighborhood, gives its people and its community a more personal feeling, brings the people closer to each other and to the community itself, refreshes the site, signals thieves and vandalists that the community cares about its people and that is not a place for them, offers citizens the opportunity to voice their opinion by art expression and young people to have a new perspective in life. Hence, street art has a crucial societal role in Brazil, and in many other countries. And I really hope street art movement never stops, keeps progressing and improving till the day people, communities, cities, states and nation are all together supporting an environment in which it can prosper.
Shanghai Metal Corporation does not take part in any kinds of vandalism. We proud ourselves for witnessing efforts in bringing hope to the society. Shanghai Metal Corporation offers a wider range of metal products, including aluminum sheet, plate and foil, extensively used in spraypaint cans adopted in the work of street artists. For our full list of products that we offer check out our website here. Be sure to join the conversation in our LinkedIn group,Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Try also our new mobile application by scanning the QR code below.
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Pictures: gettyimages, reuters, Michelle Young, literaturariodejaneiro.com, homegrownrio.blogspot.com, noticiasuol, fecortes.com.br
Camilla G.//SMC Editor