SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA POLITIKS & GRAFFITI: “REBELLION”

My journey to becoming a global documenter of graffiti and street art began back in Bogota, Colombia in 2012. It was all of the words scrawled and stenciled on the walls all over the city that prompted a keen interest within me. Two things happened: My Spanish improved quickly (because I had to go home and translate the words into English) and secondly, I got a sense almost overnight of the political issues of the disenfranchised elements of society within the country.

Realizing that graffiti had the power to communicate important messages and concerns of ordinary citizens, I began to pay close attention to the writings on the walls all over the world. It’s amazing what you can see when you look. It’s amazing what you can hear when you listen. It’s amazing what you can understand when you open your heart.  

Once the foundation of my passion was set, my documentation progressed to all genres of street art including murals, stickers, sculptures, wheat pastes, everything and anything, that I judged to be making a statement of some kind in a public arena. 

Since 2012, this blog has grown exponentially and one series in particular, the “Politiks of Graffiti” series featuring street art images I’ve collected around the world, combined with the weekly list covering the current state of the U.S. government compiled by activist Amy Siskind, has garnered a lot of interest and has a bit of a following on Twitter. It’s important to note that I cover all forms of political statements I discover in public art. It’s unfortunate that it just so happens, the current “P.O.G” is heavily laden with visual commentary of ’45.’ I would love for it to be something else, or something more, and I believe it will be, eventually. 

In the future, I plan to do a book of “Graffiti and Global Politics,” or something like that, using the images I’ve collected around the world in the past decade. 

That being said, I am currently in San Jose, Costa Rica and the walls are rife with political statements. 

Please check them out below: 

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On the very first day I arrived in San Jose, I saw this stencil on walls, on roads (literally, I was crossing the street, looked down, and this image was stenciled on the road!), and here at a bus stop. I researched to find out that this man is Oscar Arias. He is a former President of Costa Rica and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He’s been accused of sexual assault by a nuclear disarmament activist. VIOLADOR is RAPIST in Spanish. 
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These two stencils are about domestic violence and oppression of the poor. On the left: “If he insults you, he doesn’t love you. If he hits you, don’t stay.” On the right: “The rich abort the dying poor.” 
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“The revolution will be feminist or it will not be.” I take it to mean that the revolution must be run by women, because if it isn’t. then there won’t be one at all. 
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“There are bullets and good decisions.”
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“They infuse terror and want forgiveness.”
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“Welcome Migrants”
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“My body does not want your opinion.”
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“The rich abort the dying poor.”
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“Against patriarchal and capitalist violence, our deep rebellion.”
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“The earth is feminist.”
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I’m not sure about this translation: “Outside rosaries of our ovaries.” It definitely has something to do with telling men that they don’t make decisions for women and their bodies. 

11/12/13/14/15FEB2019 San Jose, Costa Rica.

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SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA STREET ART: TRADICIONAL by SAN RAMON CREW

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15feb2019. San Jose, Costa Rica. 

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA: VIVIENDO LA VIDA

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Correos de Costa Rica. Central Post Office. Built in 1917.
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7 Cardinal Rules of Life = Siete Reglas Cardinales de la Vida

1. Make peace with your past – so it won’t disturb your present.

2. What other people think of you – is none of your business.

3. Time heals almost everything – give it time.

4. No one is in charge – of your happiness. Except you!

5. Don’t compare your life to others – and don’t judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

6. Stop thinking too much – it’s all right not to know all the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.

7. Smile – you don’t own all the problems in the world.

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Barrio in the valley
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“57% of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholics, 25% are Protestants, 15% do not have a religion…”

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The sun can be strong on the streets of San Jose

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Avocados for sale
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Peatonal. = Pedestrian.
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Old Skool mural

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La sera feminista o No Sera. = It will be feminist or it will not be. 
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This woman was an unwitting crossing guard for me. I waited to cross the busy street until she did, and when we were halfway across, I said “Gracias!” and she laughed. Costa Ricans are pura vida. 

11/12/13/14feb2019 San Jose, Costa Rica 

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA: NAMED IN HONOR OF JOSEPH OF NAZARETH

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Neoclassical building. Built in 1920. Located in Morazán Park and is one of the key architectural symbols of San Jose. Costa Rican José Francisco ‘Chisco’ Salazar designed it. It is said that he was inspired by the famous Palace of Versailles in France. Since its beginning, the Temple of Music has hosted festivals and musical shows and special New Year’s Eve celebrations.  Apart from hosting musical performances, the building has played a very prominent role in the public life of Costa Rica and many leaders have used it as a stage for their main political acts.
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A tico walks past a NEGUS piece. 

 

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This image gives you a sense of San Jose’s location in the Central Valley; mountains up ahead.

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This is what they say about this place: “Cinema showing straight porn films but with lots of gay action happening in the seats and other areas. Entry 3000 colones ($6)” Whoa ! It’s in Barrio Chino (Chinatown.) I knew when I took the picture, that it had some kind of “seedy underbelly.”

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Confucius. In Barrio Chino (Chinatown.)

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Sculpture: Gracias , by artist Alexy Palenzuela. He is a Costa Rican naturalized Cuban.
Gracias carries that title not only as a thank you to the Costa Ricans, but also as a recognition of the good manners of the Ticos. “The first thing I noticed about Costa Ricans is that they always say ‘thanks’, ‘please’ or with ‘great pleasure’,” said Valenzuela. Thanks is a work with a romantic and dreamy air that shows a robust woman with a guitar. “My work is based on musical instruments because music always accompanies us, both in moments of sadness and joy. That is to say, the musical instrument is a symbol of daily life, ” he said. Why is it so voluptuous? The artist commented that his work is inspired by the figure of his maternal grandmother, a lady who was always a chubby, enterprising, “fighter. “

 

 

 

IMG_3782José Gervasio Artigas Arnal June 19, 1764 – September 23, 1850) was a national hero of Uruguay, sometimes called “the father of Uruguayan nationhood”. Artigas was a staunch democrat and federalist, opposed to monarchism and centralism. 

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Flutist
Location: Teatro Nacional
Approximate date: 01-01-1997
Artist: Jorge Jiménez de Heredia
Technique: Marble
Measures: 245x45x45 cm
NOTES
The foundation of the work was executed in Italy. The destination of this sculpture was the Bank of San José, but on the advice of the architect Bruno Stagno, the work was considered inappropriate for that building and was donated to the National Theater in 1996. https://www.teatronacional.go.cr/Galeria/coleccion-detalle/7/flautista

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11/12/13Feb2019 San Jose, Costa Rica.