I found this article on street art quite enlightening. It asks: “Maybe, then, the question before us is not What street art is, but rather Why has it come to be, and more importantly – where can it go from here?”
It doesn’t state a conclusive definition, but says street art would at least include: a strong devotion to social activism; transformation of contemporary art; a role in constructing and shaping new cultural discourses.
I came across this mural in a side street in the old part of the city. It’s actually two murals in one, with a strong message — freedom and protection of women’s rights.
Looking closely at the mural on the right, I noticed the shadows behind the women. They evoke images of fighters in a battle — I would say freedom fighters.
It alludes to what’s depicted in the mural below, in a shopping center in a different part of town (sadly the building burned down and this mural no longer exists). It depicts the Katipunan, the revolutionary society that fought for independence from Spain more than 100 years ago.
Both murals speak of the same theme — the struggle for freedom, albeit a hundred years apart.
I couldn’t help but notice the artist’s signature in the mural above. Street art is sometimes called “guerilla art,” though it has gone beyond that, and has found its place in mainstream contemporary art.
Here’s an example of street art in one of the city’s most expensive financial districts, Bonifacio Global City (named after Andres Bonifacio, the leader of the Katipunan).
It’s a mural called “The Heart of God’s Country” by American artist Andrew Schoultz.
It’s about regeneration and regrowth, according to the artist. Nature will find a way to survive beyond our absence, despite our mistreatment.
He wants the audience to engage in dialogues. “The Heart of God’s Country is not only about our relationship with the environment but of the global problem of environmental degradation.”
Be it in a side street or a trendy commercial center, street art comes from the same roots — reflecting on society, making a personal statement, and provoking thought and discussion. It uses a visible public space to send a message or fight for a greater cause.
Street art will endure as as an artform. It is the canvas for urban daydreams, and dreams don’t run out.