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Why is Street Art Trending in 2022?

The Covid-19 pandemic and political upheaval of the past few years has only increased street art's popularity and importance as people's voice.

Street art has been popular for the past decade, with our Brazilian artist David Magila being an example of it. Magila has been involved in great public art projects in Brazil’s biggest metropolis: São Paulo. These projects have allowed Brazilian people to enjoy amazing art whilst walking on the street and without the need of visiting museums…which for many is rather impossible given the country’s economic reality that does not allow most people to afford the price of museum tickets.

The Covid-19 pandemic and political upheaval of the past few years has only increased street art's popularity and importance as people's voice. Perhaps due to a rise in more locally focused art initiatives, as well as outdoor exhibitions, resulting from closures and restrictions during the pandemic, street art has also become a more prominent topic. Last year, it was announced that the Uffizi Gallery in Florence had acquired its first street art piece – a self-portrait by the UK-based artist Endless – which will go on display among the gallery’s Renaissance collection.

For instance, Banksy has created artworks that have been sold at auctions for millions of dollars. Weighing in on everything, from the Israel-Palestine conflict to Black Lives Matter and Brexit, Banksy’s talents know no bounds. Some of his famous artworks include Napalm (2004), Love is in the Air (Flower Thrower) (2003) and Girl with Balloon (2002). Moreover, street artists were also able to capture the social and economic state of the world during the pandemic. Here too, Banksy’s Game Changer (2020), a tribute to healthcare workers and frontline heroes, was hailed by artists and art enthusiasts alike.

With recent political conflicts as well as social unrest in the world, street art has garnered more attention and will continue to do so this year as well.

Last year, at Vienna Art Week 2021 – under the theme of ‘Losing Control’ – the festival’s main curated exhibition - was hosted at an abandoned car dealership and featured work by street artists ASTRO and Sobekcis on the building’s exterior walls - as well as a large-scale rooftop painting by Artists for Future with the message: WHAT DO WE WANT?

As part of a large-scale exhibition of sculptures and installations by contemporary artists, street artist JR’s work was presented at the pyramids of Giza in Cairo, Egypt at the end of 2021 – an optical illusion of the top of one pyramid being torn off. In late 2020 - early 2021, the Public Art department of Qatar Museums launched the first round of JEDARIART – a two-part project to activate urban spaces in Doha by commissioning murals by Qatar-based emerging and established artists. The program is currently open and accepting proposals for its second round on an ongoing basis.

Another major public art initiative, Destination Crenshaw – an extensive community project and outdoor museum of work by Black artists along Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles – is set to debut the first phase of the project this autumn. In the meantime, the project has been running mini mural contests to showcase the work of winning artists along the Crenshaw Boulevard construction site while work is underway.

Part of the current conversation around public murals and street art concerns how to preserve them – particularly in the context of protest art created as part of the global movement towards social justice and equality. The Urban Art Mapping Project of the University of St Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota has established a crowdsourced database and map to document street art that has emerged around the world in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.

The project’s additional databases include one for street art images relating to and responding to Covid-19, as well as an Eco Street Art Database to collect street art that addresses topics like the ecological crisis, environmental justice, and sustainability. Each of these databases have been established to provide a free future resource for scholars and artists, while acknowledging street art’s role and potential in activism – a foundation to build from.


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