GOOD

A Graffiti Art Revolution Brings Life to the World’s Deadliest City

In San Pedro Sula, Honduras, graffiti artists and activists are reclaiming their beleaguered home through the power of design.

Artist Rei Blinky is part of a new movement taking back the streets of San Pedro Sula. Image courtesy of the artist.

It’s a popular lament that graffiti artists face dangers from possible arrest to street harassment and muggings, but what about death? Recently, freelance writer Nathaniel Janowitz of Hyperallergic traveled to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, ranked the world’s deadliest city for the fourth year in a row, to shadow a collective of graffiti artists and activists as they tried to reclaim their hometown through design. The medium-sized metropolis of less than 500,000 has a staggering homicide rate of 171 per 100,000 residents—that’s three to four murders per day—which has created a climate of fear few are brave enough to challenge. “Most houses are surrounded by walls with barbwire fences,” says Janowitz. “Locals rarely linger outdoors, and the people you do see standing outside are usually security guards holding shotguns and automatic weapons protecting businesses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” In an ironic twist, graffiti artists frequently call the police in advance of their tagging to help secure protection against local gangs, many of whom associate graffiti with turf wars. “It’s difficult for street artists; the risks from the Maras are high,” said Baruch, a San Pedrano street artist, in reference to one of the area’s most feared gangs.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Activists Troll Russian Subs With Pro-Gay Underwater Neon Sailor

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society’s gyrating mascot shakes his booty at fascism off the coast of Stockholm.

Russia, as a country, is not exactly “queer-friendly.” Over the last few years, they’ve made the promotion of “gay propaganda” to minors a jail-able offence, have tried to prevent the adoption of Russian children to families living in countries where same-sex marriage is legal, and, on a tangential note, even unofficially banned twerking. This has inflamed the global community, which has tried everything from boycotts to high profile protests to draw attention to these injustices. Sweden, however, has decided to take definitive action. Recently, Swedish activists, after a series of “unwanted navel intrusions from Russia” that alarmed the relatively peaceful Nordic country, decided to fight Russian fascism with their own unique brand of soft power. The activists, working on behalf of an organization called The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS), have created and installed electric underwater signs off the coast of Stockholm that feature a dancing (gyrating) sailor in his underwear, with words in both Russian and English that say “Welcome to Sweden: Gay since 1944.” The sign is in reference to the year Sweden legalized homosexuality, and became one of the first countries to do so openly. Humorously, the sign also sends out Morse code signals that declare “this way if you are gay.”

Keep Reading Show less
Articles