Buenos Aires Graffiti: Not A Crime, But A Statement Against Crime

November 3, 2014

Buenos Aires, Argentina boasts one of the most vibrant street art scenes in the world and well-knows graffiti artists flock to Argentina to have a public space in which to express their creative outlets. And why? Because graffiti art in Argentina is completely legal. All streets in the city of Buenos Aires have some sort of tag, mural, or stencil that resembles a form of street art. But art is not only thrown up by artists by lure of its legality, it is thrown up to make a statement, a lasting statement. Since the art put up so long as it is not offensive stays there, the question shifts from How did it get there? to What does it mean? People come to Buenos Aires and paint because they have something to say. The defining aspect of graffiti art in Argentina is its politically charged content. The country since the second world war has been under reigns of brutal military dictatorships and unsuccessful periods of democracy. The worst came in Videla’s 1976-1983 military coup where guerilla attacks and the disappearance of 11,000 civilians implemented fear throughout the country. Today, an organization called “Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo” is a group of mothers whose children disappeared throughout that period and were never found. The organization congregates every weekend in La Plaza de Mayo right next to the county’s capital building to bring awareness and continue their search. They are recognized by their white scarves and graffiti artists have ‘tagged’ this symbol around the city to spread their message. Graffiti art has a way of bringing the community together and promoting a better future by reminiscing on the past. In speaking to graffiti art in the United States, what does the criminal aspect bring to the table? How does it change the content or the meaning of what is to be displayed?

 

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