Bastardilla, born in Medellin Colombia, has been painting since she was a child, moving onto the streets around 2005. She is one of the most recognized names in genre. Her work although central to the city, is now recognized around the world. Not much is known about the artist-partially because she chooses to remain anonymous.
Staying true to the old school graffiti rules of graffiti, Bastrardilla has worked really hard at keeping her identity a mystery. Considering the focal point of her portfolio, such decision only emphasis her graffiti’s core meaning. In one of the few interviews she’s done for an 8-part documentary series called “Defense d’ Afficer", Bastardilla comments that the idea of anonymity is particularly appealing in a world where everyone is promoting their image. Obviously, she desires to put her work first without over-complicating it with less important things such as who the author is.
This March, Bastardilla is coming back to Amsterdam for the 3rd time to create the monumental artwork on ±120 square meters mural in Geuzenveld, Nieuw-West. The building on which the artwork is being created is located in a middle of major renovations and changes in the neighbourhood.
“My idea is to play with the space, whilst depicting the Memories. The ‘stand out block’ in the middle of the building, appears to be like a barrier, but not in a negative sense. It could be a house, or a curtain behind which one is looking out onto the street, could be a secret place where one goes to hide and/or be comfortable. It becomes the main subject matter. The reference reflects upon listening to the stories of the residents about specific culture of the neighbourhood. It also politely references separation of the Nieuw-West from the rest of the city whilst being a garden paradise for many.
A child, representative of the NEW MEMORIES, who is gender neutral- could be a boy or a girl - in a PJs or a Comfort suit is ‘peaking through’ the barrier. The barrier that could be a physical or a cultural one. However, the child sees the life and is drawn to it, reaching out to meet it, with smile and curiosity sparkle in the eye. Curiosity about the others, community that starts with one are all present through application of emotion, such as child’s smile or a sparkle in the eye.
The neighbors ask for hope, pride, flowers, nature which I placed on the other side of the ‘barrier’. I like a lot to play with the space offered by the street. This is what makes special any artwork in the public space. I don’t just put just a frame or reapply canvas on the mural. I like to make the place a playground for the eyes, a tool for fantasy.”
Nowadays, Bastardilla creates works that transcend from what is often called vandalism to the realm of fine arts by providing a critical narrative on the cultural, socio-economic and artistic value of street art.
One of her most popular works is titled “Minga!” a word which stems from the Amazonia Kichwadialect. It translates roughly to mean a collective work, or community actions with a social benefit. Often expressed as a “peaceful manifestation carried out through a march of hundreds of kilometres by different groups and organisations from various Colombian regions,” the aim is to create community dialogue and figure out the best steps to take in order to defend the dignity and sovereignty of the people in their ancestral lands.
Here, Bastardilla combines her respect for women with her interest in the social and political issues of Colombia to create a piece, which resonates with multiple statements. She wanted to show the multiple burdens that Native-Colombian women carry, and how they are so often overlooked.
Bastardilla uses thick expressive lines and adds sparkles to her work, creating pieces that catch the light beautifully at night.
“My mind and my images are floating around the street,” she tells, “even when I’m not painting, I’m thinking of the things I’m going to make.”
There are very intimate details that come out of her art, building connections between people and allowing for the introduction of social-political themes in everyday dialogue. Painting, for her, is a way to get closer to people and build other forms of thought.” This painter’s work is full of life and energy, ultimately due to Bastardilla’s skillful usage of vivid colours – and make no mistake, the pieces she authored are some of the most colorful ones you will ever see.
She normally focuses on one particular color that stands out and carries the entire energy of the piece. Another noticeable aspect of her work is the way she manages to use the surfaces to her advantage as her pieces change radically depending on where she decides to place them. Bastardilla likes to describe her graffiti as fruits of imagination, as specific windows looking at the backyard of her mind.
Bastardilla’s work, most often found in poorer neighbourhoods, is characterised by its use of bold colors; it draws on such topics as feminism, violence against women, poverty, indigenous society and nature.
The project is scheduled for 15 - 30 March 2019.