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Archive for October, 2015

FRANJA GRAFITERA Asuncion, Paraguay 2015

October 03rd, 2015 | Category: Events,Travel,Uncategorized

Where do I begin?

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The Asuncion, Paraguay trip was an experience unlike any other I‚Äôve had. Eight women artists from Latin America where invited to participate in the 1st ever Bienal the country has ever had.¬†Toofly ( Ecuador ) Abusa Crew ( Chile) Ledania ( Colombia ) Zumi ( Argentina) Norka ( Bolivia ) Shalak ( Canada)¬†¬†Sofia Maldonado ( Puerto Rico )¬†and¬†Min 8 (Uruguay ) who¬†were specifically chosen to represent their country and graffiti/street/mural works. In our eyes a Bienal is a well produced, large scale internacional contemporary art event with high standards. Many of us took the invitation serious. When we arrived the Bienal was anything but that. We have never experienced so much disorder, and miscommunication…

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Bienal Asuncion Paraguay 2015

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Luckily the locals in the graffiti culture had our back to get the basics in place the first few days so that we can at least start our walls. We made do with what was available and stayed positive…Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5…

Power One
Shout out to POWER ONE the 1st and only graffiti shop in Asuncion.

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DAY 6 We can finally start!!!???

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meals

Staying positive while we pay for our own meals…

toofly asuncion 1

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I paint fast so I finished quickly. I also chose a wall I can use a ladder because the scaffold situation was troublesome. I was able to finish my piece in 3 days…luckily the drunk man who harrased me in the end didn’t get as aggressive when I offered him a soda. He would not leave me alone, and it got scary at one point. I asked for help from the local police in the area but they did nothing. I asked them to stick around until I finished but they left and I painted as quickly as possible before the drunk man came back. Many of the women painting experienced their own situation with aggressive behavior from men in the area, verbal abuse etc; A very frustrating and dangerous situation to work under especially when there is no one looking out for you and taking safety measures from the organization…

costanera sunset

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tfskate

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We had our bonding moments despite the issues in between…

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costanera 6

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All day all night in order to stay on schedule…
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Shout out to Oz Montania a local graffiti artist who looked out for us:) He WAS NOT part of the organizing team for the Bienal, but I think if he would of been and was consulted for his experience it would of helped us a ton! Darn…next time. We love you OZ!!!

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DAY 7: Tuesday September 29, 2015

On the day we were ready to continue and possibly finish…we were faced with aggressive verbal abuse, and were unable to continue. We lost days in production to get to this point but when they don’t cover your meals, there is no transportation, no water, no security, no safety, and proper equipment you simply just can’t go on…

asuncion police

I would like to share what happened to all of us after a week of issues in hopes that anyone working to produce a public street/graffiti project in their country are aware that they need to have their shit together before they invite artists to create top notch level work. This is not a local graffiti jam taking place in your neighborhood for a day of fun, this is a Bienal. If you are inviting international artists from all over the world then your production plan has to be on point with an adequate budget.

The urban arts movement is the biggest in the world and we have the most impact on a social and community level. Our work changes lives especially young people in a positive manner. It is something we take seriously on many levels and are respected worldwide by other institutions and people. We spend hours, and days preparing to create a mural that will have an impact on the new generation of artists and the countries arts/culture movement. Our work would stay long after the Bienal is over…

Many of the artists arrived ready to work on large walls near the costa√Īera part of Asuncion a week 1/2 before the launch of the Bienal. The walls were in terrible condition but we were determined to paint them and make them beautiful. The equipment arrived very late because the check promised to cover all production costs for the ‚ÄúFranja Grafitera‚ÄĚ arrived late. A huge problem for production organizer ( 1 person ) to move forward strategically, especially for an event that has be in the works 1 year in advance. Paint had to be ordered when we arrived because a feriado landed that weekend where everything closes early and for 2 full days. The scaffolds were extremely heavy, and not altogether with staff who was on vacation. This delayed the process of staring the mural work on time. Missing platforms, no wheels, etc; The workers that would help us move and set up the heavy equipment could not work until they were were payed and returned form a feriado weekend. We lost a full week.¬†There were no ladders until the very end, and when they did arrive they were of heavy wood and metal that needed additional staff to help move for all 8 murals. Some of the scaffold set up at the wall were extremely dangerous because the floors were on a hill, broken glass, rocks. There was no expert safety on scene. There were days we had to cover our own food, and water. One of the most basic necessities for artists to work during very hot weather and with 10+ hours of work in a day. There was no transport to and from walls from a hostel, even after late nights to meet deadline. Our team of artists tried to solve problems as best we could but after a week+ of issues we broke. This was not a Bienal production at full potencial that we were expecting, they‚Äôre excuse ‚Äúthis is Paraguay‚ÄĚ The blame was passed on from one person to another. In the end no-one owned up to their responsibility. We had 2 days left of the Bienal and we decided that the Bienal, the people, and the country is not ready for what we are capable of. Our departures were scheduled on the day of the Bienal launch, one more reason to wonder “Do they really appreciate graffiti/street/ mural artists here?

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Asi no se puede mas! Here is an example of the overall treatment we received. This was very dangerous for Abusa Crew to paint on…if I car would of passed by on the corner a serious accident could of went down. The brutal truth is there was no love for us here…

asuncion meeting

We got together to make one last attempt to speak to the organizers with a professional and respectful letter to make them aware of what we have been faced with during production. We hoped that the last few days we something could be done, but not much changed.
Microsoft Word - Declaración Artistas de la Franja Graffitera.d

Microsoft Word - Declaración Artistas de la Franja Graffitera.d

We gathered, talked, and decided as a group that we would leave behind one final message. One that will help them realize that they still need a lot of work to do to live up to the titles they want to represent.¬†¬†‚ÄúEl Grito de la Libertad‚ÄĚ the Bienals theme this year became a public protest by the Franja Grafitera to the Asuncion Bienal.

NO TENEMOS MIEDO A PINTAR CON DIGNIDAD! ASI NO! , RESITENCIA, ABORTO BIENAL 2015, DESPIERTEN! , HAY QUE EDUCAR!

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FranjaGrafitera protesta

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toofly media press

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DESPIERTEN!

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Press made an attempt to write about what happened. Article by ABC COLOR¬†more in the week ahead I’m sure…

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