Do you like graffiti paintings? Moreover, do you know that it is considered as an art form nowadays? Read this article to know which of African graffiti artists are the best!
Throughout the years, graffiti has always been considered as an act of vandalism. However, it has become a real street art in the last decade. Graffiti was born in the streets of New York in the 1970s, and in the 1980s, this art form appeared in Africa. It is a less established medium than in America, but has a growing community of talented artists. Unfortunately, they do not get as much media attention or representation at international festivals as artists from Europe or North America.
Here are three top artists doing their best to get Africa's graffiti community more visibility.
In 1988, grafitti artist Falko One began his journey into this subculture in Cape Town at one of the only clubs where colored people could go to party. There he was introduced to the world of hip-hop and grafitti. He studied graphic design but did not graduate.
“Graffiti was not something I consciously decided to do,” says Falko. “It was elements and people around me that forced me to do graffiti.”
He says that he has a very obsessive personality and once he started creating graffiti paintings it was all he could think of.
Born in the city of Nairobi, Kenyan artist Wisetwo has been working on the streets for more than a decade.Being a child, he had an interest in art, as he believes all children do.
“Isn’t every child just interested in painting?” he asks. “Then it just depends on how far society hits you and brainwashes you and tells you science and business is more important than art.”
Painting is his passion, and it has taken him all over the world — from Canada to Yemen. He claims that most of the work he does is for his own pleasure, presented on festivals and the gallery of the streets.
Wisetwo has done political work in the past but prefers to avoid politics in his art.
“Trying to merge the politics and art is not an easy task,” Wisetwo says. “That’s not the concept of my expression. This world has too many problems. Trying to fix them is not my thing. I just paint to make places look beautiful.”
His show in Paris last year featured murals of African masks with patterned work influenced by the cultures of ancient civilizations such as the Mayans, Aztecs and Mesopotamia and embraces Egyptian hieroglyphs. Wisetwo says that this type of work truly represents his style.
Vajo from Gabès, Tunisia, is a force, which is hard to deal with. He came to the international stage in 2011 during the Tunisian Revolution, also known as the Jasmine Revolution, which was the first in a wave of uprisings in the Arab world called the Arab Spring.
Vajo was shown in a documentary called PUSH Tunisia, which brought together a collection of Tunisian skateboarders, activists and street artists.They came to be known as The Bedouins. The group promoted peace in the war-torn country through their crafts. They turned the ransacked mansion of a member of the former ruling family into a hangout for creative minds.
In summer of 2014, Vajo took a part in Djerbahood, a project organized by the Parisian Itinerancy Gallery involving 150 artists of 30 different countries. They made the village called Erriadh on the island of Djerba, Tunisia into an "open-air museum", painting as many walls as they could. The island is a major attraction for the country and the works of these artists have made it even more so.