Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now) a street art exhibition by Mexican artists Rosario Martinez Llaguno & Roberto Vega Jimenez, members of the Mexican art collective Lapiztola Stencil based in Oaxaca, is currently on at the Rich Mix Complex on Bethnal Green Road.
The Revolutionary art movement in Mexico began in the early 20th century when muralists such as Orozco, Siqueiros and Rivera began to make the streets their own and created a platform for publicly accessible visual dialogue for the Mexican people. In 2006, teachers’ strikes in Oaxaca were violently suppressed by the state. This sparked a cultural reawakening in the city, which brought together many artists, of whom many formed collectives, such as Lapiztola Stencil. Street art became a form of political protest, highlighting a range of issues which Mexican society faces, including environmental degradation, police brutality, political repression and threats to indigenous people’s rights.
Today Lapiztola is the creative force responsible for much of the street art in Oaxaca. The collectives name is a juxtaposition of the Spanish words for ‘pencil’ and ‘pistol’. Their art is striking, publicly owned and sets to offer inspiration to take action. Many of the artists images highlight issues around child welfare and focus on empathy towards children. The collective states that “Our style emerged from the need to express and demonstrate against what has been happening in our city”.
This exhibition which opened on the 5th February is being hosted by Global Justice Now, a democratic social justice organisation, and runs until the the 28th February. There are 8 pieces on display, in which half are large wall pieces. It is well worth the visit to see some street art that is very much a product of its environment, not to mention a demonstration of superb stencil techniques, so ahead along over the next two weeks.