Arte Callejero Latinoamérica (Street Art Latin America, or ACL) is an Argentina-based project that uses social media to support and document street art from all over Latin America.
According to their website, the project was born in the context of the 1998-2002 Argentine Great Depression, when unemployment reached 20 percent and riots and looting were widespread. The meltdown led four presidents to resign in a space of just ten days in 2001, and the government to make the biggest debt default in history. By 2003, poverty had risen from 26,7% in 1999 to 51,7%.
Arte Callejero began paying attention to visual, artistic responses to the crisis on the streets of Buenos Aires and to document them on a website. Over the years, it began organizing exhibitions as it also moved their dissemination efforts to social media platforms.
The project's founder is Ivan Andrada, an artist and cultural producer from Argentina. He's told Global Voices via Instagram DM that he has organized street art exhibitions in Chile and Mexico, and that he often travels around the region to promote ACL.
This year, ACL is celebrating 15 years of existence with a street art festival in Buenos Aires from April 24 to May 25. The festival will host exhibitions, debates, and documentary screenings with street artists and collectives from Latin America.
The project's Facebook page, Youtube, and Instagram archive are a treasure trove of street art in all its forms from the region. Their strongest presence is on Instagram, where they have close to 10,000 followers. Their account also republishes photos of murals shared by other Instagram users.
The banner below, photographed in Buenos Aires and reposted by ACL, shows an image of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. The caption reflects readers’ recent reckoning with the Nobel laureate's misogynist, even violent, past.
The image reads: “Tonight I can write the most misogynistic lines. Pablo Neruda, Ft [reggaeton singer] Daddy Yankee.” Seen in Belgrano, Buenos Aires.
Many of ALC's posts highlight visual work with strong political messages. This mural piece in São Paulo, Brazil, showing Facebook's co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, is an example:
View this post on Instagram
Repost de @buenocaos – Nem via Twitter. Tio Zuck mandando a real nas ruas de São Paulo. Revolucionários de cartolina ✊ Zuckerberg is sending some messages in the streets of São Paulo: "Revolution will not be through Facebook, Instagram nor WhatsApp". Paperboard revolutionaries ? #streetart #urbanart #wheatpaste #pasteup #lambelambe #lambe #arteurbana #zuck #facebook #instagram #whatsapp #revolucionáriosdecartolina
Mural says: “The revolution will not happen via Facebook”
Caption says: “Nor via Twitter.”
Also in Brazil, this mural depicts the country's president Jair Bolsonaro:
Caption says: “No to racism, to misogyny, to sexism, to homophobia, to xenophobia… No to fascism. No to terror. Long live democracy!”
The following post is about the times of the Argentinian military dictatorship (1976-1983) when around 30,000 people were forcibly disappeared by the state and its collaborators.
Mural says: “76-16, 40 years, never again,” and “The same past, the same enemy, the same possibility: liberation”
Caption says: “43 years since the coup d'Etat that started the military dictatorship and with it, a systematic repression, unprecedented in the history of Argentina. We haven't forgotten.”
The banner above was made by Argentinian art collective Agra. They made it available online so other art collectives from the region could print it too. The one above was printed by Colombian art collective Dexpierte Colectivo and pinned to a wall in the country's capital Bogotá.
Another example of ALC's post comes from Mexico City with an image that reminds passers-by of the events of 1968, when police and parapolice killed hundreds in student protests: