Join SOLAS at the Latin American & Iberian Institute for a ¡SOLAS Presents! Lecture Series event with a presentation from UNM graduate student Jennie Greb.
Graffiti as Resistance: An Analysis of the Critiques of Capitalism in Bogotá's Street Art
Jennie Greb is a M.A. student in the Latin American Studies Program at UNM.
While known for its rainy days and grey skies, Bogotá’s streets are filled with color due to its emerging graffiti scene. The images that fill the blank walls of the city are not the typical scribbling or ineligible messages often associated with graffiti, but are carefully constructed and vibrant works of art. As a result, a sort of clandestine form of resistance has emerged, with many street artists openly critiquing the economic policies of a very neoliberal state. In this sense, the blank wall converts into an autonomous space of resistance, placed within the capitalist-driven setting that is Bogotá. The street art thus acts as a very unique form of protest, existing in the daily lives of the passersby, yet constantly evolving and changing through the culture of graffiti. But most importantly, the anonymity and not-for-profit characteristics of the Bogotá graffiti scene allow for the art to be even more effective in combating a materialistic country dominated by neoliberal policies and private enterprise. In my analysis of the critiques of capitalism in Bogotá’s street art, I examine the work of notable street artists DJ LU, Crisp, and Toxicomano, among others, and draw largely from David Harvey’s Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution. The result is a study of how Bogotá’s street art occupies a unique space of resistance that effectively critiques the neoliberal country in which it is placed.