African Hip Hop Through Visual Art

This semester students in the Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa course did either podcasts and art pieces. This is some of the artwork submitted from this semester’s students.

 

13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival: Graffiti Exhibition

Color: the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light.

From my knowledge and experience, colors captivate not only the eye, but evoke specific emotional and psychological responses in human beings physically. For decades, the urban youth have utilized blends of hues to express sentiments, awareness and inner passions in the form of graffiti. On Saturday, April 7th at in front of Trinity College’s Mather Hall, I visited a beautiful graffiti exhibition which showcased gifted artists from all over the world as part of the 13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival.

The installation included two large cubes which featured graffiti paintings on each of the four visible sides of each cube (eight paintings). Each piece showcased bright color combinations which told a story. For example, Marcelo Ment from Brazil did a piece which showed a woman with colorless parts of her face while her hair was made of a variety of bright and warm color combinations. Another side of the block showcased the turquoise, green and blue mixture of a girl’s French braids, with pink accents. The colors complimented each other and flowed like mystical water.  In addition, Artists Lindaluz Carrillo, Kamil Kucharek, and Poptart from Hartford, and Yuanjie K-Ching Qian from Montreal all composed their pieces within minutes, leaving their mark for all to marvel. Their work represented a culture of conscious art which I personally revere especially at a time in which Graffiti is going extinct due to gentrification. During the exhibition, another viewer mentioned that with less spaces left unoccupied by cameras, there are less opportunities for graffiti artists to tag areas with messages. The conversation led me to further appreciate the art, not only for its authenticity, and cultural impact, but also for its endangered state.

26655385267_35c496b480_o web

Graffiti Exhibition at Trinity College

This year’s past Trinity International Hip Hop Festival also featured a live Graffiti Exhibition at the Gates Quad, an area in front of Mather Hall. The two-cube installation was created that Saturday morning with works by Marcelo Ment from Brazil, Hartford natives Lindaluz Carrillo, Poptart, and Kamil Kucharek, Yuanije K-Ching Qian from Montreal, Canada.

The first piece that I really liked was the freestyle graffiti piece by Brazilian artist Marcelo Ment. The intricate graffiti piece features a clever combination of lines and color to create depth and emphasis of the blend of both a bookcase and cityscape setting. The use of both warm and cool colors with blue, yellow, red, green and purple hues creates further contrast. There is movement in the center of the piece with a spiral shape connecting two silhouettes facing opposite of one another surrounded by terms such as “I am one because we are one”, “life”, and “respect”. “Trinity His Hop” is written in bold white letters in the bottom corner to pay homage to the festival. The graffiti piece highlights empowerment, unity and education through its’ bold lettering and style.

Another piece I really liked was the abstract Tetris-like piece which I believe is by Lindaluz Carrillo, an artist and graduate from the University of Hartford. The piece is a 3D abstract Tetris-like shape with landscape details inside the shape. The cool blue tones go the mountains and waves inside the shape contrast with the warm pink surrounding it. The use of black inside the shape also gives it an illusion of a face. I would consider this to be quite an urban piece as abstract shapes that both makes you think and strikes emotion are very common in graffiti art.

The graffiti exhibition was an effective visual art piece for the festival. The main piece “Trinity Hip Hop” in front of the first cube was a great backdrop for some Trinity Festival photos! The bold graffiti letters against a dark background creates contrast and attracts attention to the words on the piece. The graffiti overall surrounds us around urban themes, including empowerment, courage and unity.

 

IMG_8015
Graffiti By Marcelo Ment
IMG_8035
Me at the 2018 Trinity Hip Hop Festival!

A Fulfilling Festival

This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Trinity College’s International Hip Hop Festival. I visited the festival with a couple of classmates and my teacher, and it was an experience that I’ll never forget. Continue reading “A Fulfilling Festival”

Student Project: Hip-Hop Elements: Street Art

Student project looks at street art in Washington, DC

When the East is in the House…

Always wanted to hear the classic Blahzay Blahzay song “Danger” in a hip-hop track from East Africa. This is a video of images and footage of East African hip hop artists (Tanzania, Uganda, & Kenya) with “Danger” playing in the background.

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 20 Graffiti in Block 41

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 20 – Graffiti in Block 41. In 2010. This was taken in Block 41, on the road behind Best Bite in Dar es Salaam. These graffiti tags are no longer there. Like in many cities, graffiti does not stay up for long unless the artist had permission. But an element of hip hop is graffiti, especially street graffiti. The purists say street graffiti is about doing a piece or a tag illegally, often using stolen supplies. This tradition is found all over the world where street graffiti artists often do pieces on buildings, trains, or other public places in the middle of the night. Many steal the spray to do the piece, reflecting the fact that in the inner city most young artists can’t afford to buy spray paint cans.

 

Back Camera Back Camera

*30 days of TZ hip hop is to show some of what I experienced the past year in Tanzania.

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 9 Wachata Crew

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 9 – Wachata Crew. The dopest graffiti crew in Tanzania. Their works can be seen all over Dar es Salaam, including Nafasi Art Space in Mikocheni. Each of the artists represents graffiti as an element of hip hop but also represents graffiti as a stand alone art that can be appreciated with other forms of fine art.

https://www.facebook.com/WACHATACREWClark-Msia-05

_SIA6672 Copy 1WachtaUhuruUDSMSmall

*30 days of TZ hip hop is to show some of what I experienced the past year in Tanzania.