Street art piece
Street Art Museum Amsterdam
Btoy is one of the first women who stepped out onto the streets of Barcelonawith detailed multi-layered stencil art that playswith colour, light and shadow to create moody and powerful portraits. Born in Barcelona, Btoy is the child of social activists and refugees fleeing the dictatorial regime in Uruguay lasting from 1973-85. As a self-taught artist, she came to graffiti while completing a photography degree (and after abandoning studies in law), first playing with paste-ups on the streets of Barcelona in the early 2000’s. At that time, before it became the mass tourism hotspot it is today, a welcoming culture and low cost of living in Barcelona created fertile ground for those experimenting with graffiti, underground music, theater and art subcultures. It was in this setting that Btoy began to vigorously investigate feminism, stereotyped gender roles and identities, and to express her own identity through her work, choosing the streets as her medium for their freedom from convention, their hidden moods, memories, and stories.
Schiphol the Basis
Good / Legible
The work, created using the stencil technique and overlapping areas of colour, represents Btoy's virtuosity for portrait realism. By comparing it with some of SAMA's past works (e.g. the 2016 period), we can see how the artist's style is evolving towards greater detail and minuteness of the smallest elements of the composition. The volumetric strength of the figure is achieved through the superimposition of patches of colour that vary from the brown hue of the skin to a bright blue and green that make up not only the shirt of the sitter but also the background in which the figure is framed.
The work depicts Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa and symbol of the struggle against apartheid. The choice is not random: Btoy's poetics are intrinsically linked to political and social activism and his art is often a means of protest against human rights or a celebration of great figures of the past. The theme of multiculturalism and the fight against racism is a persistent theme for the Spanish artist, as we can also see in other works created for the museum, such as 'Flower Girl', 'Negrita I' and 'Negrita II'.