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Street art in Italy

Italian art is not only Renaissance paintings, Baroque sculptures, Roman archaeological sites or religious buildings of all architectural styles. There is also a fervent artistic movement, whose works are not exhibited in renowned museums or in popular churches.

We are talking about the phenomenon of street art, where canvases are walls and museums are often the outskirts of cities and vast areas in need of redevelopment.

Street art was born in New York in the 70s and it will take about twenty years for it to arrive in Italy. The dawn of Italian street art found fertile ground in Milan, Rome and Bologna. And the Emilian city itself is the place where the beginning of the movement symbolically coincides. Initially, the approach to street art can be traced back to motivations of social discomfort such as the containment of marginalization, the democratization of art and the re-appropriation of urban spaces. Later, between the second half of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s, street art took on a purely artistic connotation: artists, or writers, no longer paint driven by resentment towards society, but do so for the pleasure of producing art.

Italian street art is a real symbol of redemption, because today it is to be considered as an excellent tool for the redevelopment of those abandoned areas, which are located on the outskirts of big cities.

One of these is Milan, one of the Italian cities that has been able to host these artistic representations in the best way possible. In Milan “unexpected” places have been used: in this sense we can mention the electrical booths, which for years have been painted by street artists on behalf of the Municipality; we can also discover the presence of murals in the area of the Isola district; one of the most fascinating places is certainly the “Garden of cultures”, which presents murals by the Italian artist Millo.

Considering other examples of these great cities where street art is well present, we can certainly focus our attention on Rome, the capital of Italy, which is considered “European capital of street-art”. Also in this city, the works present, their bright colors, their beauty, are used to give new life to those neighborhoods considered to be “skidding”.

The beginning of this art form, in Rome, was not well seen because the artists who designed the “murales” were considered as real vandals who defaced immaculate buildings and walls. Fortunately, then, street art became legal and what were considered the “weak points” of the city are now real tourist attractions.

In Rome we can observe these works located both in the centre and in the outlying areas, in addition, the quantity, quality and organized production are strong points of this “artistic movement”.

One of the most famous areas presenting street-art works is the Ostiense District, the cradle of the “Ostiense District” project, where the work of Blu, an Italian artist who “transformed” a former military barracks into an amazing rainbow of faces, which appear as transmitting a message of welcome to the most needy; the Testaccio district, where there is the work “Jumping Wolf”, a reinterpretation of the Capitoline she-wolf; the Tor Marancia district, the most colorful in Rome, which, thanks to the project “Big city life”, presents 22 monumental murals, painted with bright colors.

Padua is considered a real city of art and this art can be found both in the most visible points, therefore in the central streets, and in the most remote corners, which constitutes an interesting “treasure hunt”. So the works are really many: for example, those by Andrea Coppo, aka Kenny Random, whose most famous works are those with the black kitten or the man with the top hat, which can be found in the streets of the centre. Another famous artist is Tony Gallo, who became famous thanks to his brightly coloured, very fantasy works.

Also in Florence we can admire open-air galleries. For example, in the works of Gec Art we can admire the figure of a modern man through the representation of a semi- mythical creature, with his head trapped in a monitor: in these works, electronic elements are made in the act of dialoguing with animal creatures. The most “original” artist is the Breton Clet, creator of many works, visible, incredibly, in some street signs of the old town. In these works, the themes dealt with are very varied: from religious ones, to those on work ethics, to themes of pure fun. Other works by incredible artists can be seen, for example, in Bologna, where, in via Stalingrado, entire walls covered with over 40 works are presented in 16000 square meters. Also in Naples we find many works, such as those Alice Pasquini, famous above all for the representation of women and children. Finally we mention Genoa, which with its history of graffiti and murals, reaches the record: especially with the project “Walk the line” we wanted to transform the supporting structures of Via Aldo Moro, in an open-air gallery over 3 km long.

Street art in Italy is growing exponentially, gaining more and more acclaim, even among non-experts. This growing consideration has led to the organization of real festivals around street art. The festival “Subsidenze” in Ravenna, which can boast several editions behind it and the participation of world-class artists, such as the already mentioned Millo.

Emilia-Romagna confirms itself as an important centre for street art, in fact also in Forlì there is an important kermesse, the “Murali Festival”. An opportunity to give even more voice to street art, but also a way to contribute to the redevelopment of urban areas.

Worthy of note is also the “Memorie Urbane” festival, whose first edition dates back to 2011. It is an itinerant event that moves its steps between Lazio and Campania. In these areas, the festival has left an indelible mark thanks to 240 interventions and the participation of more than one hundred artists from all over the world.

Even in Sicily, street art finds fertile ground. The stage of the “FestiWall” is the beautiful Ragusa. The peculiarity of this event is that in each edition the drawings of the previous editions are linked, so as to form a unique work that accompanies the viewer throughout the itinerary. The festival was born in 2014 and it is not only street art, but also concerts and workshops.

Written by #cleocirelli


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