On Wednesday Venezuelan Minister of Culture, Francisco Farruco Sesto, announced the birth of Venezuela’s National System of Popular Cultures (SNCP) – a nationwide effort to foment the development of popular culture and the artists behind it.
Venezuela today is home to some of the most vanguard popular art forms, including the graffiti arts and their expansion into new styles and spaces. Venezuela's Guerrilla Comunicacional - or Communicational Guerrilla - is just one example of art in action on the streets of Venezuela. Here are a few images of their works, as well as some of the people, faces and places where their works have arisen.
In Caracas, murals decorate the walls of barrios with the sentiments and aspirations of the people. These creations, sometimes elaborate and detailed, sometimes simple and direct, are often the product of a collective effort among neighbors to beautify their living space. In the community spaces as well as the nooks and crannies of the bustling, sprawling city, this art rivals commercial billboards that permeate much of the visual landscape. In many cases the murals pay homage to Latin American heroes who continue to inspire people to fight for freedom and justice. They also tell stories of history, oppression, and resistance.
The urban street art produced by the Communicational Liberation Army has been sarcastically mocked and framed as government propaganda by the mainstream international media. In reality, the Urban Interventions Festival held in La Pastora (a Caracas barrio) provides a forum for constructive, empowering community engagement. It opens the door for popular sentiment to be creatively expressed beyond the boundaries of commercialized marketing, which usually dominates the urban visual landscape and attempts to define citizenship and political participation within a consumerist framework.
Over the 17, 18 and 19 of December the first conference of activists and militants of the Venezuelan Hip Hop movement was held. Convened and organized by the Hip Hop Revolution collective and with the participation of activists from over 8 states from the west of the country, the [congress] discussed and debated the creation of urban art schools, a joint project of the HHR Collective and the Ministry of Communes.
Street art plays an increasingly vital role in revolutionary Venezuela: It is a mode of political expression, a form of popular education, and helps build a collective historical memory. Few places show this more brilliantly than the walls of 23 de Enero with its combative spirit inscribed on almost every corner.