Calling Macron’s Bluff, Through Art – OpEd – Eurasia Review

Like when French President Emmanuel Macron was elected, he loudly proclaimed that there would be no more homelessness but, as usual, that was far from true. “It was even worse, so I put him in a tent with homeless people,” says James Colomina. “Why, the homeless people were thrilled with the move. The site stands on the banks of the Saint-Martin canal in Paris. At first, I asked some homeless people if they would welcome President Macron with them in a tent. They told me they were delighted; So for his birthday, I put him in a tent to shed light on the homeless,” he added. “My intention was also to put whoever is at the very top of the pyramid, at the very bottom.”

It was in the 1970s that American graffiti artists first successfully unionized. Between 1974 and 1980, over 20,000 artists and arts support staff gained full-time employment through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), making it the largest arts project funded by the federal government since the establishment of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression. put more than 8.5 million people to work. In New York, the Cultural Council Foundation (CCF) launched the CETA Artists Project in 1978, with a budget of US$4.5 million per year to fund the work of 300 artists, paying them US$10,000 per year plus benefits ( nearly $46,000 today) work directly with community organizations, in project teams, with successful companies, or on a wide range of public works.

Introducing only a few for the high-end world

Then the rich reacted by carefully choosing only certain graffiti artists to selectively amplify and open up the world of high-end art, encouraging street art for the sole purpose of making money in the spaces curated by the elite. . As a result, and inevitably, there was infighting and resentment that led to the erosion of unions.

Today, the current pursuit of the exclusion of non-male, non-white artists from museums and the wealth associated with high-end art is no coincidence. The statistics highlight the high-profile art world as another example of the Whites and the Rich very conveniently excluding those who don’t “fit in” with them.

Activists like California-based Nancypili Hernandez use street art as a crucial tool to tell suppressed stories. Creating and painting many different murals, working in the Latinx community of San Francisco to “document the story of people that is not told in the history books”, it is his work in the Mission District that highlights shines a light on the struggles of Latinx people, amplifying the stories of an indigenous community ignored by San Francisco tour guides.

In 2015, New York based Polish street artist, Agata Oleksiak aka Olek arrived in New Delhi in 2015 to work on a massive project and use crochet technique to express everyday occurrences and inspirations; her works often examine sexuality, feminist ideas and the evolution of communication. She visually transformed one of New Delhi’s 184 homeless shelters, to raise awareness of the lives of the desperate people living there. Covering the entire 40-foot-long, 8-foot-tall structure with crocheted yarn with a team of local volunteers, she worked for seven days to assemble the entire installation that was part of the “Rain Basera” project.

Dress up a charging bull at night

Why, on Christmas Eve in 2010, she even covered Wall Street’s iconic “Charging Bull” statue – from horn to hoof – with a pink camouflage blanket she crocheted herself at 3 a.m. morning ! It took him miles of yarn to create the fabric on ‘Six Seasons of Lost‘ as she says. While she waited for the police to arrest her, they didn’t. “They were human and understood that I didn’t want to harm the statue”, but the installation only took two hours because “a grumpy city worker tore it down”.

Ironically, the Charging Bull itself had “appeared” as a Christmas present in New York from Arturo Di Modica, an Italian sculptor. Di Modica, who moved to New York in the 1970s, sensing worry and uncertainty in the United States after the crash of 1987, wanted to create a powerful symbol of the strength of the American economy.

He planned to create a three-and-a-half-ton, 18-foot-long bronze bull to refer to a “bull market,” a robust stock market where stock prices rise, encouraging investors to buy more.

And, on the morning of December 15, 1989, Di Modica and some friends parked a truck in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Within moments, they placed the bull under a Christmas tree and drove off.

Di Modica didn’t expect the bull to stay there long term as he saw it as a temporary gift. And, predictably, the New York Stock Exchange didn’t like the idea and had it scrapped. However, over time it has come back and become one of the most visited places in Manhattan and a favorite New York tourist destination.

(This report is part of The Art Of Cause project – an initiative of DraftCraft International that documents art projects and street art campaigns that reach out, rectify and resolve conflict, around the world)

Part 2 of 6 | To be continued

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