This year has undoubtedly been a challenging year for everyone, from the COVID-19 global pandemic to the devastating bush fires, the global Black Lives Matter movement, the US elections and Brexit and much more! 2020 has seen health, social, political, environmental and cultural upheaval across the world. There is no simple way, to sum up, 2020! Turbulent, scary, resilient, heroic… hopeful. How have street artists reacted in these times?
Here is our recap of the best ‘street art projects with more impact’ of 2020 month by month…
Street artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada created two new murals for GreenPoint EARTH, “Forest Focus” and “Past, Present, Future”, in Madrid focusing on the climate crisis and the fight of indigenous people to save their lands.
The streets of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane became the backdrop for the nation’s largest unsanctioned outdoor art exhibition #BushfireBrandalism, as forty-one artists took over advertisement outlets with their own messages aimed to bring much-needed attention and awareness to the recent severe drought and perishing bush fires that swept through Australia and caused devasting destruction in its path.
Bordalo II created a trash polar bear and two cubs, that has adorned the wall of a nursery school, focusing on starting the message early with regards to environmental emergency awareness. The sculpture is made entirely from trash and forms part of his big trash animal series that highlights waste production, plastic pollution and one use products that are polluting the world and killing our animals.
“This is the first time I’ve made a polar bear. A species that, unfortunately, perfectly illustrates the urgency of the situation. Doing it on a school wall makes all the more sense because I’m still hopeful that the younger generations won’t repeat the same mistakes we made in the past, and are still making today.” BORDALO II
The impact of COVID-19 changed our life as we know it, with social distancing and self-isolation, the world we once freely enjoyed had been closed off behind the doors of our homes. Street artists were reflecting this new reality within their work and before lockdown got onto the streets to express the new world through their art.
A 20,000-foot mural in Queens was painted by Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada. The land painting ‘Somos La Luz/we are the light’, honours Dr Ydelfonso Decoo, a paediatrician and one of the first minority doctors to die during the coronavirus pandemic.
Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, had become a national epicentre of the Black Lives Matter movement, with the towering 19m Robert E. Lee statue as its focal point. Now covered with anti-racist graffiti, this statue and other racist statues across the world have become a place for powerful protests against systemic racism and police violence. With the Black lives movement at the forefront of conversation, Richmond artist Nils Westergard and SillyGenuis painted a mural dedicated to the victims of police brutality and support BLM.
British artist Banksy funded an independent lifeboat that patrols the Mediterranean for refugees in distress. The lifeboat Louise Michel, named after a French feminist anarchist, is a former French Navy boat customised to perform search and rescue and sails under a German flag. Measuring 30 meters in length and capable of over 28 knots, bought with proceeds from the sale of a Banksy migrant artwork.
Hackney-based artist STIK unveiled his first public sculpture, a 4m tall bronze sculpture entitled ‘Holding Hands’. The project was the culmination of a four-year collaboration between STIK and Hackney Council and has been solely funded by the artist. The sculpture was a much-needed boost amongst these challenging times and a reminder that holding hands and embracing each other will happen again. STIK also auctioned a smaller ‘Holding hands’ sculpture and raised a quarter of a million pounds to invest in an art and culture programme with Hackney council! go STIK!
“…The ‘Holding Hands’ sculpture is being installed at a poignant time in our history when holding hands is not always possible but is a symbol of hope for what has always been and what will be again. The sculpture is intended as a timeless and inclusive meeting place for all regardless of race, sexuality, gender, faith, or social status.” STIK
As a gesture of gratitude to the health workers in his hometown of Santander, Pejac painted three murals at University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla. Entitled after the quality of being strong, much needed in the world we live today, and especially within the walls of a hospital complex, ‘Strength’ is addressing three different aspects of the current crisis and proposes the ways we could respond to them.
“The idea of the ‘Strength’ project arises as a gesture of gratitude to the health workers of Valdecilla, for their work in general and during this Covid crisis in particular. Offering them what I do best, which is painting.” PEJAC
Street artist JDL aka Judith de Leeuw collaborated with Yourban2030 Outside in for the LGBT+ movement in Rome. Her mural depicts a woman looking into a frame, like a mirror, seeing her reflection as a man. It is designed to create emotional understanding in the process of acceptance in the LGBT+ movement and their surrounding.
This mural last layer of eco-paint paint, airlite, manages to neutralize the smog produced by 53 cars, for over 10 years, and reflect 90 % of the solar radiation. Environmental protection comes through art!
The BUILDHOLLYWOOD family of JACK, JACK ARTS and DIABOLICAL has collaborated with Jeremy Deller, for their latest Your Space Or Mine project which gives artists and creatives a platform on the street.
The collaborative project coincides with Human Rights Day on 10th December with billboards throughout ten cities across the UK including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Sheffield, to carry a reminder that people are being denied their basic human rights around the world.
Happy and healthy new year to all our followers. With love Team GS.