Community In a Paint Can

Ever since teenagers in New York began “tagging” and “bombing” trains in the 80’s graffiti art has been viewed with equal parts disdain and curiosity. Often accused of being vandals and criminals, graffiti artists work in anonymity constructing murals in highly visible public forums much to the chagrin of many public officials throughout the world.

In this sense Argentinian street artist Blu isn’t much different. His physical appearance and real name are unknown and his famous murals are found on private and publicly owned buildings from Bologna to Bethlehem. It was not until a 2006 trip through Latin America that the purpose of Blu’s art became more apparent.

A film entitled Megunica documented his journey through Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Argentina in his attempt to “bring art to the people”.

Besides from creating some visually stunning pieces, Blu and his travel companions interacted with locals from the various locations to truly gain an understanding of the culture they had immersed themselves in, an effort to make art a communal experience.

In Mexico he teamed up with local artists to work on a few of projects. In addition the crew sat down with some local youth to discuss their hardships as well as the importance of street art in their community. In Managua, Nicaragua Blu and his friends visited the poorest neighborhood in the city and decided on the spot to revamp the run down community center building with the help of all the residents. It was truly moving to see children as young five and gray-haired adults all working together (under Blu’s direction of course) to help improve their community.

Moments like the one in Managua are found throughout Megunica and it is during these scenes that reinforce how powerful and universal the language of art is.

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