Street art can promote conversation and highlight social, political and environmental issues and has always been a powerful platform to convey messages to the masses. Check out some of the best street art murals and projects brought to us throughout 2019 month by month that promote injustices and inspire hope for our future.
Nils Westergard was invited to Berlin by Urban Nation Museum, under the artistic direction of museum director Yasha Young. They developed a new “One Wall” concept together with the assistance from “Faces of Auschwitz”. The memorial wall portrait by Nils Westergard shows the Auschwitz detainee Walter Degen, a former locksmith, was deported as a German political prisoner at the age of 32 for being gay and was registered at the Auschwitz concentration camp on 29 August 1941. In May 1942, Walter Degen was transferred to the Mauthausen concentration camp. It is not known if he survived or not. Nils Westergard ‘Unforgotten’ mural is a delayed collaboration with artist Mademoiselle Maurice.
February is the month of Love, and Banksy returned to The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem and installed a brand new piece of artwork in the hotel lounge opposite the reception. The artwork represents the separation wall with a child knocking through, in the shape of a heart.
St+art India Foundation as part of its Lodhi Art Festival 2019 collaborated with the transgender community of Delhi, and with The Aravani Art Project painted their first mural in Delhi in front of the N.P. CO-ED Senior Secondary School in Lodhi Colony. The Aravani Art Project reclaims the streets on which so many transgender people suffer violence and discrimination. The collective’s wall is based on inclusion and unity. Fifteen trans-women and several volunteers contributed to the execution of the wall making it a collective celebration of identity and representation.
April saw the International Labour Organisation (ILO) partner up with Street Art for Mankind (SAM) to commemorate 100 years with inspirational murals about social justice around the United Nations Headquarters. The #ILO100Murals, created by world-renowned international street artists, set the course for a contemporary Art Walk, in the streets of Midtown Manhattan. They captured key themes of the ILO’s efforts to ensure “decent work” for all, and inspire each one of us to create a better “future of work”. Five murals were painted in the first week of April following the themes: green jobs, youth employment, gender equality at work, child labour and forced labour and the future of work. Artists invited were Clandestinos (Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky), Faith 47, Jorge Gerada, Mr Cenz and Victor Ash.
Branded Arts curated the Maya Angelou Mural Festival, as part of its LAUSD mural festival series, a large-scale project that started with the Robert F. Kennedy Community School in 2016. Branded Arts invited over 30 local and international artists to paint a series of murals dedicated to the ideals of Dr Maya Angelou and to create murals that fit within the cultural landscape of the school and community.
June saw land artist Saype start his ambitious project ‘beyond walls’. In a world that is polarised, Saype’s ambition is to create the largest human chain in the world, generate a real social movement and invite the crowds to benevolence. The project is titled “Beyond walls” and will link twenty megacities of the globe to the same ethos: Optimism and living together. This ambitious project will take Saype three years to paint. His first land art began in Paris.
To connect communities located in different parts of the world, aptART (Awareness & Prevention Through Art) and the Good Works Foundation teamed up with street artist Pat Perry to create OPENING LINES. Through the power of technology, the project introduces two groups of children living in markedly different places and provides them with a platform to interact. One group of children live in Slemani, Iraq, and the other group of children live in Biddeford, USA. These children who live miles apart now have a connection through art.
REWILD was the latest campaign from creative initiative Splash and Burn, and Spanish artist ESCIF. Splash and Burn use Art as an alternative platform projecting critical ecological issues, curated by Ernest Zacharevic and coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt. As with every Splash and Burn Art project, REWILD serves to highlight and bring worldwide attention to the loss of forest habitat on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
PAINT (RED) SAVE LIVES is the first global street art campaign created to bring urgent action in the fight to end AIDS. PAINT (RED) is curated by Scott Lawin, founder of Museum of the Street, with support from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Merck /MSD. A collective of the world’s top street artists painted the cities around the globe (RED). Artists include; Add Fuel, Bisco Smith, BRUSK, DALeast, Faile, Faith XLVII, Hera, HOW & NOSM, Inside Out Project, Karabo Poppy Moletsane, Ludo, Olek, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Stephen Powers, Trevor & Cosmo, and WK Interact. These artists have been creating (RED)-inspired street art to support funding for the AIDS fight.
Bordalo II returned to the island of Tahiti to add to his ‘Big Trash Animal’ series and created numerous trash animals related to the ocean, which included the Half Sea Turtle, Half Hammerhead Shark and floating Trash shark. Bordalo’s Trash Animals are made out of discarded and recycled materials bringing much-needed awareness to waste production and pollution, and its effect on the planet, inspiring behavioural change.
“The ocean’s most dangerous predator, not the sharks of course, but the trash.” BORDALO II
Bordalo created a ‘Trash Shark’ and swam next to the plastic animal in the Pacific ocean. This fantastic shot was captured by Selina miles, a self-taught director and editor from Sydney who specialises in the documentation of urban art.
November saw Thierry Noir and STIK collaborate with the Imperial War Museum, London. The famous street art duo painted two original segments of the Berlin wall, which came down on 9 November 1989 signalling the end of the Cold War. The duo’s collaboration marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Titled ‘WALL’ the composition features two figures facing towards each other, the ‘past engaging with the present’.
Banksy shared a video on Instagram of his latest mural on Vyse Street in Birmingham’s Jewellery quarter, highlighting homelessness, especially around the festive Christmas time.
We hope you enjoyed our retrospective look at 2019! There have been so many worthy projects, and please comment on what captured your heart this year.
The GS news team will continue to bring you more street art projects, and murals in 2020 so check back at a later date on our news page and keep up to date with daily street art activity from GraffitiStreet via Facebook and Instagram.
Happy and Healthy New Year!!