Sunday, October 16, 2011

A day in the City Part 3: Asuncion Street Art

I know you've seen this one, but I still like it.
I've uploaded some photos of Asuncion to Facebook. This is from the same day with the hamburger incident and other realizations. While walking around the city, I enjoyed taking photos of the public art. Ranging from traditional public works, to more graffiti style street art there is a tradition of art for the masses here in Paraguay.

The new genre of "Street art" is still fledgling in Asuncion, but noticeable. Personally, I am drawn to street art that has little agenda other than to bring joy to a otherwise dreary city. However most street art has a slightly more political take on things. This stencil is satirizing the Cedula, the national ID card issued to every resident of Paraguay, by combining it with the word "Cerdo," the Spanish word for pig or pork and generally considered an insult. (Explaining jokes, puns, or a play on words in another language robs all eloquence there may of been and makes whoever is explaining it sound like an asshole. Don't you think?)

The tale of the Americas
Do you see the layers of different colors?
I love this series. They are commissioned public works, but powerful nonetheless. At first glance they look like they are paintings, but upon closer inspection you'll see that they have so much more dimension than an average mural.  I think this is made with dyed cement, put together like a flat sculpture rather than a painting. There were about 5 different murals in a plaza near the waterfront.
It's so much more tactile than a mural.
The man himself, kinda.

This is my favorite statue in Paraguay, to date. It is in the Plaza de los Desparecidos, or Plaza of the missing. The plaza is dedicated to those who disappeared during the era of the Strossner dictatorship. This statue is the crushed remnants of a former statue of Strossner himself. General Strossner was the last in a long history of dictators in Paraguay, whose reign ended in 1989. As you can imagine this era is still affecting Paraguay today. 

I don't know much about art. What's good art, what's bad art, what's not technically art. However, public art is so much better than something hidden away in a gallery or a museum. It's part of our neighborhoods, and our morning commutes. There is no pretense. Well, maybe less pretense anyways. I don't have to be quiet when appreciating street art, nor do I ever feel intimidated if I "don't get it." With street art, if you don't like it, at least it can become a good directional marker.

Three blocks and take a left at the statue with the hands sticking out of it. If you pass the stick figure dude crying on his knees you've gone too far.

What's not to love?

I took pictures of a few other pieces, So here are the rest. ENJOY!