“Unidentified Graffiti Artists” of Sao Paulo

A woman takes a photo of relatives in front of graffiti painted by Brazilian artists Val, Cris and Toddy, members of OPNI, an organization that uses mural paintings to improve life in the slums, in the Vila Flavia favela of Sao Paulo, on August 27, 2011. OPNI, a Portuguese acronym which means “Unidentified Graffiti Artists”, was formed in 1997 by some 20 youths in Sao Paulo’s marginal slums with the goal of transforming the streets into an open-air gallery where the community can express its gripes and denounce social injustices. (Reuters/Nacho Doce)


  1. Adrian Jurado

    This is not an “Graffiti ” , this is an Mural Painting …..”graffiti are used as markers by gangs usually active in urban areas. The content and form of their graffiti consist of cryptic codes and initials rigidly styled with specialized calligraphies. Gang members use graffiti to indicate group membership, to distinguish enemies and allies and, most generally, to mark boundaries which are both territorial” ……
    Many actually “street-and public plastics artist” from Latino-American ,Est-European and from the USA take inspiration from Mexican mural painter Siqueiros who came to Los Angeles as a political refugee in 1932 (Graffiti born in NY at the 80’s..).
    Siqueiros he was the first to reclaim public spaces (streets) for freedom art, he teach to young immigrants and American beginners artist to express theirs social feelings to dialogue whit all society sectors whit mural painting, mural painting is not a decoration, it mots be (say Siqueiros) one innovative aesthetics experience according not only whit the ways to “plastic talk” but also according to the evolution of technology, Mural painting it is not more one “anarchist privatization of the common urban places” (like the graffiti described before) .
    When the CIA sow the “danger” to express the freedom on the walls and by this way the public painters were “makers” of conscience then arrived the prohibition to make this stile of public art ..(Many mural paintings was destroyed at the USA)
    Since then the “art authority” by all the world they scorn and spurn mural panting and encourage “free of social protest urban and public art” (like graffiti..) BUt …not any more in many new free country’s from the influence of the USA like Brazil..
    By the consequences of social arts

    More of Siqueiros street and public spaces Art in Los Angeles,California:
    He stayed for six months before being unceremoniously deported after his visa ran out. His arrival in the U.S. came during the great depression when factories closed and thousands were thrown out of work. While in L.A. he painted three important murals. The first, Mitin Obreo (“Worker’s Meeting”) was created at the prestigious Chouinard School of Art. Siqueiros had been invited by the school to teach a class in mural painting, and what better way to educate his students than to directly involve them in the creation of a mural. The 20 by 30 foot painting was on an outside wall of the school.

    Mitin Obrero depicted a militant union organizer and the multi-cultural crowd of workers who had put down their tools to listen to his oration. The painting was almost immediately covered by a tarp to prevent public viewing and within a year it was completely destroyed. The mural represented a great advancement in art making in the U.S., it was the first outdoor mural to create a public space on the street. It was also the very first time in the U.S. that an artist had used a projector to transfer enlarged images to a surface, or to use a mechanized spray gun to apply paint. This was a technique developed by Siqueiros.

    The second and most famous of Siqueiros’ L.A. murals, América Tropical, was painted on a rooftop overlooking the City’s historic Olvera Street. The Plaza Art Center wanted the artist to paint an exotic picture of Latin America replete with tropical birds and lush jungle. Instead Siqueiros covered the 130 foot wall space with a terrifying visage. The mural’s central focus was an Indian crucified on a cross, on top of which sat the eagle of imperialism. The background consisted of ruined Indian pyramids, a reference to the European sacking of indigenous grandeur. To the left and right of this scene, armed peasants were coming out of the jungle to wage a war of liberation. Once again the artist used a projector to transfer his images to the wall, and a spray gun to paint the mural. Needless to say, conservatives were outraged over the mural and it was immediately whitewashed. It sat abandoned for decades until the J. Paul Getty Museum decided to restore it (a process that today is still ongoing)…..
    This comment was posted by Adrian Jurado urban and public art maker and context artist: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=328956367171836&set=a.246413202092820.59973.100001724257977&type=1&theater

    • artinslums

      You’re right but “Unidentified Graffiti Artists” is the name of the group of artists (ONPI). Thank you very much for your contribution and your precious information!


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