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eng Automatic Translation

Street art / graffiti

Street art (street art) has become one of the main forms of free self-expression in the cultural space of the city. A fairly young phenomenon, initially having a protest character. This direction includes graffiti, non-commercial posters, stencils, various sculptural installations and more in the urban space. The main purpose of street art is to play with the urban environment and adapt various objects to it. It is important for artists to invest and convey their ideas to the mass unprepared public, engage them in dialogue, show various plot events and make them look at everyday codes differently.

The cultural situation in Belarus is largely determined by the Soviet conservatism of the authorities and the still unresolved issue of national identity. The origin of street art in Belarus began with the development of graffiti and took place in conditions of lack of information and developed by imitating American hip-hop culture.

There were three periods in the history of graffiti in Belarus. The first refers to 1998–2002. There were many graffiti teams at that time. In Minsk, in the Masyukovshchina microdistrict, a "Hall of Fame" was even created (a meeting place for artists where it is allowed to draw legally).

The second period began in the middle of the 2000s, when graffiti festivals began to be actively held. In 2003 and 2004 in Gomel and in 2005 in Minsk the international graffiti festival Meeting of Styles was held. An important role in this period was played by Internet resources related to graffiti culture. A striking example of street art at that time was the work of Lesha Liquid, the founder of the True Stilo team and the publisher of the graffiti magazine of the same name (one of the first professional graffiti publications). The artist depicted male faces with inscriptions in English.

The third wave is characterized by the fact that the artists became more and more interested in street art, and not in graffiti. I was attracted by the lack of restrictions in the form of traditional graffiti "language", the fullness of the semantic load.

In 2002-2005, the CHUIVAM group operated in Brest. It was the first team in Belarus to draw with stencils. They promoted their political beliefs, using stencils with anarchist content.

The AZ team (Grino, RRR, Tame, Urteco) actively worked in Rechitsa in 2003–2007. The guys drew characters, glued posters. Interestingly, due to the lack of paint cans, they could do the work with mayonnaise or ketchup.

On the streets of Minsk, stencil art was promoted by the by_stencil group. The team existed from 2006 to 2008, was engaged in documentation in livejournal. The group achieved an exhibition of stencils on plates and canvases in the Vankovichi estate in Minsk.

In 2011, the Signal street art community was created (it lasted until 2015). The project organized lectures and exhibitions, supervised the creation of murals by international and domestic artists, produced new authors. Oleg Larichev was the project coordinator. He also took part in the organization of the Urban Myths art project in Minsk, which was attended by street artists from different countries. He was included in the organization of 13 large frescoes throughout Minsk. Some of these are still visible today and are considered controversial. He got government approval for them, despite the fact that some of them have symbolism that is not consistent with the government. Among them is a photograph of a woman dressed in the red and white colors of the opposition.

In 2014, Minsk hosted the Vulica Brazil festival for the first time, organized by the Brazilian Embassy in Belarus, thanks to which Oktyabrskaya Street was transformed.

Belarusian street art does not have an integral community. Artists work independently of each other and develop in different directions. KD, Dima Dream, Zhenya Cowek, Marat Tekto are the most prominent contemporary street art artists.

The Belarusian events of 2020 contributed to a new wave of street artists. The public space witnessed the confrontation between the opposition and the authorities. On the streets of Belarus, the results of the struggle appeared in the form of protest graffiti, which, as a rule, were painted over by housing and communal services workers on the same day. Now you can see painted over street art in the form of sloppy squares - this phenomenon has been called "fuprematism". At the moment, due to the catastrophic political situation, the government is destroying more and more drawings, making the city sterile and inexpressive, not allowing street art to develop.