A brief history of Argentina through graffiti

I went on a graffiti tour of Buenos Aires not really knowing what to expect. I loved it so much I ended up going on another one through a different part of the city just to learn more. Graffiti or street art or tagging or whatever you want to call it is absolutely illegal in Argentina. However, it is 100% tolerated and even used by political parties to send messages. Many artists love signing their names and even their tumblr information so you can find out more about them. This is very different from the United States!

Random art
Random art
Ransom graffiti
Random graffiti

The great thing about graffiti in Buenos Aires is that while learning about the art you also learn about the history of Argentina in a visual and interesting way. In 1983 democracy was restored in Argentina and the peso was valued at 1:1 to the US dollar. Prior to this, they were under a military regime that closed off most access to influences from the outside world. Now that it was cheap to travel, Argentines left the country to places like New York, Berlin, Paris, Munich and various other places. This also meant that for the first time kids saw graffiti and street art which was totally new to them. Thus begins graffiti in Argentina.

December 21, 2001 the economy of Argentina epically failed. The peso was instantly devalued and people’s life savings were depleted in days. It was so bad that the country went through 7 presidents in a week. People who were doctors and lawyers were now cab drivers and bus drivers and well below the poverty line. Anyone with any sort of artistic background took to the streets to state their outrage! To this day, walking around Buenos Aires and exploring the streets, you can see what people went through and what people felt during these times and what they feel about the economy and political situation today.

Blu likes to paint sending a message that is open to interpretation
Blu likes to paint sending a message that is open to interpretation
Blu
Blu

Blu likes to paint things with commentary about the economic situation of Argentina.

Jaz shows the soccer hooligans with prison tats fighting
Jaz shows the soccer hooligans with prison tats fighting
Jaz
Jaz
Jaz
Jaz

Jaz has evolved in his style from hip hop style graffiti to amazing murals. He likes to mix his paints with gasoline and tar to create a different texture in his images to help portray his message.

New York style inspired graffiti
New York style inspired graffiti
Nero and Seth collaborate
Nero and Seth collaborate
The giraffes are a stencil put over the original piece. Once a piece is finished, it belongs to the streets and is open to additions.
The giraffes are a stencil put over the original piece. Once a piece is finished, it belongs to the streets and is open to additions.
Pumpum likes to use acrylic paints and anime inspired pictures
Pumpum likes to use acrylic paints and anime inspired pictures
You are always carrying the weight of everything you own on your back
You are always carrying the weight of everything you own on your back
Cabaio uses multiple layers of stencils to create his art
Cabaio uses multiple layers of stencils to create his art
The ghost like images represent the moms and grandmothers who lost their children
The ghost like images represent the moms and grandmothers who lost their children
Free hand mural with just a spray can
Free hand mural with just a spray can
Drunk garffiti artists decided to paint their house and started a movement of happy and bright graffiti around Buenos Aires.
Drunk graffiti artists decided to paint their house and started a movement of happy and bright graffiti around Buenos Aires.

3 thoughts on “A brief history of Argentina through graffiti

  1. Hi Jenna, love the graffiti. We saw quite a lot of it all around Buenos Aires but to take an actual tour, that is too cool. We had dinner with your Mom & Peter at Juanita Juanita’s last night so we could all have their wonderful Chicken tortilla soup prior to seeing a movie (Interstellar). I understand that you are now in Uruguay. Have fun and keep blogging.

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