Big City Life, Rome 2015

Big City Life‘ is a public art project for urban regeneration, cultural and social development curated by 999contemporary. The Big City Life project collaborated with the local community and twenty local and international street artists to beautify and culturally enrich the Tor Marancia district of Rome in forty-three days.

The Tor Marancia district was originally the slums of Italy and attracted flooding, crime and poverty. Eight decades on has seen the area transformed radically and now even more so with eleven post war buildings being made into monumental murals.

Artists invited include Seth, Jaz, Gaia, Philippe Baudelocque, Mr Klevra, Alberonero, Danilo Bucchi, Domenico Romeo, Satone, Lek & Sowat, Moneyless, Clemens Behr, Reka, Jerico, Matteo Basilé, Diamond and Pantonio.

Hong Kong street artist Caratoes mural ‘Welcome to Shanghai 35’ plays on the nickname of the township “Shanghai” during the violence and poverty. Tor Marancia was founded in 1935 as a result of forced evictions carried out in Piazza Venezia, and the town subsequently developed after the war when the Law De Gasperi on the rehabilitation of villages and social housing came into place.

From the title “Alme Sol Invictus”Italian artist Domenico Romeo was inspired by the sun-god of the ancient romans, offering to the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, hope for the future. Through his symbols the artist stimulus a rebirth of a social and economic revival of these once poor areas of Rome. 

Argentian Jaz painted two wrestlers representing the weight of the history ‘Il Peso della Storia’ for the town of Tor Marancia.

Italian Mr Klevra wants to leave a reassuring and welcoming image. The mural is of a tender embrace between a woman and a child. The lady is Rome embracing her son, the township. Mr Klevra felt the neighbourhood needs attention and love. 

Filipino street artist Jerico has just completed this very spring and uplifting masterpiece inspired by “The Hand Of God” by Michelangelo, Rome.

Clearly inspired by traditional Italian art Australian street artist Reka mural is simple abstracted still life, featuring typical pieces found in still life paintings ,fruit, a wine glass and statue figures.

Portuguese Pantonio and his take on ‘Ponentino’, a particularly dynamic piece of the typical Roman breeze. The enormous piece represents whales and fishing conjointly swimming in his fibrous and fluid style.

Italian street artist Moneyless also painted along with this theme and produced his mural ‘wind’ in one day. The traits are broken and dynamic and the perfect geometric minimalism representation of the Roman breeze.

Italian artist Matteo Basile giant pasting, ‘Ordine e Desordine’ ,meaning Order and disorder, is of a red-faced portrait of Chinese contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei. Basilé owns the extraordinary capacity to conciliate opposing ideas such beauty and grotesque, natural and artificial.

Street Artists Lek & Sowat were inspired by the story of Andrea Vinci. Andrea is a disabled 27-year-old who became paralysed from the waist down in an accident as a child. Andrea lives on the second floor of the building they were painting and sadly there is no elevator. Every day his brother comes to visit and carries him up and down the stairs on his shoulders. Lek & Sowat dedicated ‘Veni, vidi, vinci’, a tribute to the Latin motto and to the brothers.

French artist Seth, however, told a different story of the neighbourhood by dedicating his mural to a young boy named Luke. Luke lived in the building and died after an accident while playing football. Seth has made sure Luke’s memory lives on and what a beautiful and proud piece for the family.

American street artist Gaia challenges our perceptions of reality just as Italian artist Giorgio De Chirico did. The chosen disordered images reflect Rome, known for its orange groves and rooted sculptural history. A beautiful tribute to De Chirico’s memory.

“To become truly immortal a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken it will enter the regions of childhood vision and dream.” De Chirico

Street artist Diamonds tribute ‘Oleander’ remembers the nickname of the former Roman town “Shanghai” and is of a sleeping woman with flowers in their hair holding a diamond and wrapped around her is a dragon.

” Rome is a beautiful woman asleep , immobile a city that can not wake up from slumber .” Diamond

German artist Clemens Behr uses the simplest materials to create complex ephemeral architectures.

Italian Danilo Bucchi mural ‘Assolo’ meaning solo is of a black and white simple and beautiful image on a woman. Later on he adds the red glamorous shoes.

Frenchman Philippe Baudelocque uses the hand of Elizabeth, one of the inhabitants of the building.

Italian Alberonero uses host of colourful paintings ‘A Carlo Alberto 93 colors’.

German artist SatOne latest addition is entitled ‘Talking like a waterfall’. This abstracted mural is based on the idea of the daily verbal and non-verbal communication between the residents of the Tor Marancia neighbourhood. the artist has witnessed a lively discussion that broke out between two people of different levels of the complex.

Here are four more walls been added to the beautiful art already there, a few months later…

I think you will agree the group of artists have such diverse styles and the quality and talent is immense. Tor Marancia is now definitely on the map! ….Bellissima 

There is also a book to purchase following the walls and the artists…

This impressive project was devised by 999Contemporary, organised by Francesca Mezzano and curated by Stefano S. Antonelli and Gianluca Marziani. ‘Big City Life’ had the support of Roma Capitale Division of Culture, Creativity, artistic Promotion and Tourism, and by the Foundation Roma-Arte-Musei. Congrats!


Photos courtesy of 999contemporary.




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