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Street Art & Democracy – The Interviews

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

For our exhibition and publication ‘Street Art & Democracy’, SAMA researched the position of street art in today’s Amsterdam. We interviewed street art producers, artists, galleries, museums, a street art hunter, and diverse stakeholders.

What topics did we discuss and how do they reflect on the position of street art?

We talked about how street art is used as a tool for social change and community building, how street art can help young adults see new possibilities, and that street art can bring a sense of proudness in stigmatised neighbourhoods. Looking at the commercial side of street art, we discussed its current popularity, its attraction for tourists, the growing interest of commercial companies for street art, and how its position on the art market has shifted.

When we talked about street art as an art form, it showed its function in a different way: ‘Street art is a form of art and communication’, ‘street art is bringing a message or a small present to a neighbourhood’, ‘street art is a way to address issues’, ‘street art is always in flux’, ‘it connects people, challenges ideologies and activates involvement’, ‘Street art took art out of a box’.

We discussed the relation of street art inside and outside, the difference in working for clients from working autonomous, and the line between craft, art and kitsch. Approaching street art as heritage, we talked about street art as being part of our local history, and that it tells stories about a neighbourhood. We also addressed the need to document street art and discussed legal commissioned work versus illegal vandalism.

To conclude, street art has a social, commercial, artistic and heritage value. Street art is not a hype, it’s here to stay and will develop itself like art does. Street art is intended for everyone and anyone can leave their identity on the street.

Who did we interview?

Anna Stolyarova, founding director of SAMA, explained her thoughts on street art and democracy and shares her motive for the exhibition in the epilogue of the publication.

“Street art is breaking common beliefs and boundaries towards ultimate uprising democracies. SAMA is recognised and accolated eco-museum, because of street art;s potency in urban space, in urban styles, in urban activities, in urban lives.”

Anna Stolyarova, founding director of SAMA

From a different perspective, Jeannette Dekeukeleire, founding director of ArtKitchen Gallery, wrote down her reflections on street art, providing a foreword to the publication.

“It is important to have art in public space. Art for everyone. Amsterdam doesn’t have that much anymore. It is precisely in the new neighbourhoods of Amsterdam that some colour and a message can be put on the walls. More than ever, the quality of the image remains important.
Street art is infinite and can be used in many ways for a harmonious and qualitive society.”

Jeannette Dekeukeleire, founding director of ArtKitchen Gallery

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