STREET ART IN ITALY: Mystique or illegality?
Here we are New York City 1970’s. Alot of young guys are defining their art, their natural attitude of expression through writing. Which writing? The street one! Graffiti!
These young men are called “graffiti artists” in New York. In Italy, they became known as "street writers". They are young revolutionaries as artists, and yet considered vandals at the same time because their preferred canvases are public walls, metro and train stations. The birth of Italian street writers happened here in New York.
It was in 1989 when Keith Hearing met an Italian boy, Piergiorgio Castellani, in New York. Piergiorgio invited him to spend his vacation in Tuscany. It was on this trip that the idea of street art developed in Pisa, Italy, and of all places, the sacred church wall of Sant' Antonio 's Church.
The creation had been called "TUTTOMONDO " (translation: "All the world").
The painting has 30 dynamic characters chained to each other symbolizing the peace and harmony of the world. Scissors personify the collaboration against the next character - a bad snake. A woman holding a baby expresses the beauty of maternity and motherhood. Two men helping a dolphin symbolizes the love for nature. In all - an anthem for life!
Some months after this work Keith Haring died of AIDS. From that moment in Italy art took another meaning: art is not just museums, towers, monuments, but also paint on public canvases.
So, is this a crime?
Street writing is a social-cultural and artistic phenomenon. The thin line that divides art and vandalism, mystique and illegality is dipicted by the cause, the aim. In Italy recently there are so many parties sponsoring STREET ART like festivals, competitions, and tag symbols, to name a few.
One of the most popular projects relating to Italian street art is VIAVAI project in Salento, the region of crossroads, the junction of different cultures, an unconventional public art project. VIA in Italian means "road" and it’s anagram VAI means "start". Many people meet here and start a new journey.
Have you ever seen a black&white eye on a wall around Europe? If yes, you saw the La Pupazza's Eye. La Pupazza is thirty year old artist that comes from a small village close to Lecce, she painted the walls of Europe with her tag symbol, the eye.
In the North of Italy, the street artist Andrea Ravo Mattoni painted on a wall an artistic extravaganza inspired by Caravaggio.
And still @alicepasquini , @pixelpancho , and @sbagliato_ are just a few of the most famous Italian artists' names in pictorial social media. So, is it a crime to re-think, re-define, re-create what you believe is art and the form you use to express it?
BY: ELISA DE CAGNA
CONTRIBUTING FROM LECCE, ITALY