mural art

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet up with Poornima Sukumar. A muralist and community artist based in India, she is the founder and director of  the Aravani Art Project, a collective that creates spaces for people from the transgender community to connect with other communities and cultures in their local neighborhoods. In July 2016, Poornima was invited to present the Aravani Art Project at the Global Youth Forum, and she was hosted by the World Bank as a panellist for the LGBTQIA+ discussion in Washington DC. She is also a TEDx speaker.

What is the mission of the Aravani Art Project? Can you tell us a bit about it?

It aims to create a collective space for people from the transgender community by engaging them in public art and other interventions. We are interested in providing opportunities for members of the transgender community to collaborate with artists, photographers, filmmakers and general members of society to voice issues and engage in dialogues. We want to help society see people from the transgender community in a new light. We also make an effort to become invested in their personal lives. We look out for them just as we would look out for our own friends. The projects are completely built on trust and friendship, and friends always look out for each other! We are intent, in fact, on providing members of the transgender community with access to health care, as well as the skills they need to procure jobs.

When was it started? And why?

It began in January, 2016. After 3 ½ years of working on a film about the transgender community in India and making close friends among members of that community, I wanted to remain involved.  I was concerned about the violence and the prejudice that so many of them encounter. I felt the need to bridge the gap between  members of the their community and society, at large.

Who are some of the other folks who have worked with you in implementing your mission?

Among them are: Sadhna Prasad, who serves as the project’s art director; trans leaders Shanthi Sonu and Priyanka Divaakar and trans artists Chandri and Purushi.

About how many people has the Aravani Art Project engaged so far?

Since the project began in 2016, we’ve engaged over 1,000 folks in 25 projects.

How have you made these opportunities for collaboration and exchange happen? That’s quite an impressive number of projects.

As a muralist and illustrator, I know many artists. We’ve also received commisions. This past year, Facebook, in fact, invited us to their office in San Francisco.

How has the general community responded to the Aravani Art Project?

Very beautifully – folks open up to us slowly, and, organically, folks want to connect.

And what about the name Aravani? What is its significance?

The term Aravani means a person who worships Lord Aravan, the patron God of the transgenders.

What’s ahead?

We are looking to forge more collaborations internationally and reach out to more communities whose voices remain unheard. We are planning two projects abroad and five in India. We are always seeking visibility.

How can folks become engaged in your projects?

We are eager to engage all folks — straight, gay, transgender — in implementing our projects. And if you are interested in becoming involved, you can write to us here.

That sounds great! And we look forward to seeing you back in NYC with the Aravani Art Project!

Interview by Lois Stavsky with Bonnie Astor; all photos courtesy the Aravani Art Project

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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This is the 14th in a series of occasional posts featuring the range of faces that have surfaced in NYC open spaces. The image featured above was painted by Fumero in Astoria, Queens for the Welling Court Mural Project, curated by Ad Hoc Art. Several more follow:

Danielle Mastrion  for Underhill Walls in Prospect Heights, curated by Jeff Beler

Nile Onyx for Underhill Walls in Prospect Heights, curated by Jeff Beler

Indie 184 on the Ridge Wall on the Lower East Side, curated by 212 Arts

Funqest for Underhill Walls in Prospect Heights, curated by Jeff Beler

Albertus Joseph for Underhill Walls in Prospect Heights, curated by Jeff Beler

Anthony Lister with the L.I.S.A Project NYC in Lower Manhattan

Photo credits: 1 Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad;  2 -7 Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Since 2005, Festival Asalto –the oldest international festival of urban art in Spain — has been bringing a diverse range of alluring public art to Zaragoza, while actively engaging the community in all aspects of realizing its vision. While visiting Zaragoza last month — with map in hand — we roamed the city in search of public artworks. Pictured above is a close-up from a hugely impressive mural by Spanish artists Aryz and Daniel Munoz aka San. Several more images  — a small representation of what we encountered — follow:

French artist Zepha

Madrid-based Sabek

Madrid-based Okuda

Belgian artist Roa

UK-based Helen Bur

Copenhagen-based Isaac Malakkai with Canary Islands-based artists Felo CNFSN and Tono

France-based Mantra

Photos 1-6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 7 Sara C Mozeson

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Last month, six widely-acclaimed artists, who have shared their visions throughout the globe, brought their extraordinary talents to Talpiot, a vibrant beighborhood in South Jerusalem. Pictured above is a large segment of a huge mural fashioned by Brazilian artists, Douglas de Castro and Rantao Ferreira aka Bicicleta Sem Freio. What follows are the other five new artworks that surfaced in Talpiot during Walls Festival Jerusalem, produced by Ghostown and hosted by the Jerusalem Municipality.

Jerusalem-based artists & brothers Gab and Elna, known as Brothers of Light

Tel Aviv-based visual artist and designer Pilpeled

The famed Haifa-based collective Broken Fingaz

Tel Aviv-based Know Hope,”246 Sides to a Story” — on an abandoned flour factory, with 246 bullet holes, that had been caught in the crossfire of the Six Day War

Multidisciplinary Mexican artist Smithe One

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Pictured above is Ecuadorian artist Toofly, captured at work this past Saturday, the official launch of the 9th Welling Court Mural Project. What follows are several more images captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad this past Friday and Saturday at this model community-driven mural project conceived and curated by Ad Hoc Art.

Brooklyn-based See One at work

The legendary Daze, standing in front of his mural, produced with Crash

Swedish artist Carolina Falkholt at work      

The nomadic Never Satisfied at work

Multi-disciplinary artist Ryan Seslow, huge segment of completed mural

Cambridge, MA-based Caleb Neelon with Boston-based Lena McCarthy, close-up

The murals are on view 24/7 on and around Welling Court in Astoria, Queens.

Photos:Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad

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Launched by artists and arts educators Max Frieder and Joel Bergner aka Joel Artista, Artolution is a community-based public art initiative with the goal of promoting healing and positive social change through collaborative art making. For two weeks last month, Artolution directors, Max Frieder and Joe Artista — along with members of the local community — worked with LGBTQ+ students from NYC’s Harvey Milk High School and with students facing such challenges as autism and down symdrome from the Manhattan School of Career Development. The results are remarkable!

Planning session in progress

Young artists at work

Discarded objects become not only an art installation, but musicial instruments, as well

Segment of final mural

Completed mural

A cause for celebration

The mural can be seen on 5th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues in the East Village.

Photos by Tara Murray

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Since 2015, Wooden Walls has been bringing a diverse range of first-rate local, national and international artists to the boardwalk of Asbury Park, a small — but vibrant — seaside city on the Jersey shore. The image pictured above was designed and painted by West Coast-based artist Mike Shine. What follows are several more Wooden Walls murals recently captured by arts educator and photographer Rachel Fawn Alban:

The mysteriously beguiling NYC-based Dee Dee

Asbury Park-based multidisciplinary artist Porkchop

Brazilian artist Thiago Valdi

With West Coast native Beau Stanton painted above

Beau Stanton, up close

Photos by Rachel Fawn Alban

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Although nowhere as wildly diverse as the street art that makes its way onto Tel Aviv’s open spaces, Haifa’s street art — fashioned largely by locals — has a distinct charm that reflects the city’s far less frenetic pace. The image above was painted awhile back by Unga of the legendary Broken Fingaz Crew. Several more that I encountered on my wanderings around the city these past few days follow:

Swan, Acer & Erezoo

Erezoo and Swan

Tom Melnick

Erezoo and Wasabi

Swan and Trust

MashiahTrust, Erezoo Wasabi and Swan  

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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A beloved art festival, The Crystal Ship has produced over 25 installations, sculptures and murals per year for the past three years in Ostend, Belgium’s largest coastal city. Curated by Bjørn Van Poucke, its mission is to bring outstanding art directly to the center of the city “where people live and work.” While visiting Ostend last summer, travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad captured a strong sampling of Ostend’s rich mural art, as she biked around the city. The mural featured above was painted in 2016 by Hamburg-based Polish artist 1010zzz., whose hypnotic images can be viewed through June 10 at GR gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Several more artworks from The Crystal Ship — photographed by Karin — follow:

Brussels-based Hello Collective

Argentine artist Ever Siempre

South African artist Faith47

Australian artist Fintan Magee

LA-based collective Cyrcle

Self-taught Norwegian artist Henrik Aa. Uldalen

Photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad 

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The faces that surface on Miami’s walls — like so much of the art that makes its way onto the city’s public places — represent a wide range of artistic styles, sensibilities and backgrounds. The image featured above was painted by Brooklyn-based artist Isabelle Ewing. Several more images of faces that I captured on my recent visit follow:

Jacksonville, Florida-based Nico

London-based David Walker

Australian artist Seb Humphreys aka Order 55

Miami-based Abstrk

West Coast-based Sauteezy aka A Killer’skiller

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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