On January 14th, 2020, I attended A global Engagement Night Event discussing the significance of Street Art around the world. This event met the Campus requirement and was held at the Enarson building. Global engagement nights are fun to go to, not only because they have really great food but because they often discuss cultural aspects that are deeply connected to the lives of everyday citizens and are present across the world. I was particularly excited about the event that I attended in January as the topic was Street Art, something that I’ve been slightly-in-tune with and interested in for quite a while. My personal favorites going in were Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, both very big names in America. Throughout the presentation, I learned about the history within the US as battles raged between government and artists, as well as the significance of the representation that the art provided for places healing from conflict, such as South Africa. In Capetown, the artist Nardstar completes massive and colorful murals of women of color, bringing the group front and center in a beautiful way.
Street Art has been vastly viewed as rebellious since its beginnings, but hearing the personal statements of the artists and the significance that they held for the as a community, I began to question why the governments of many places turn immediately to halting unauthorized street art completely. Street art provides color in struggling communities, representation, and a medium of art accessible to citizens from any class or area of society. While potentially problematic in terms of defacement, street art’s versatility around the world has great potential of being turned from something outright wrong to law enforcement to something more through collaboration between artists and government, even creating potential jobs in the process.