Street Art & Social Change: Za’atari Art Project

As the Syrian Refugee Crisis continues on, the Za’atari refugee camp in Northern Jordan has become the second largest refugee camp in the world. Founded in July 2012, the camp grew rapidly and has since reached nearly 100,000 inhabitants. While the camp is often referred to as a ‘refugee metropolis,’ the site is unmistakably destitute for such a large community. Food and proper accommodation are just two of the many human needs that the refugees are struggling to fulfill; others include constructive and productive activities for the youth. As education is not and cannot be a priority during times of strife, the children in Za’atari are faced with a bleak existence.

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US artist Joel Bergners recognized this need for community building activities that would provide positive experiences in the lives of the Syrian youth, and began the Za’atari Art Project in collaboration with several Middle Eastern artists, including Yusra Ali and Ali Kiwan. In this initiative, children participate in workshops that teach them artistic techniques and social skills simultaneously as they create murals for the camp walls. Yusra Ali is a female Palestinian artist who lives in a nearby town, who combines her artistic talent with her affinity for working with children. Kiwan is a Za’atari resident who collaborated with Bergners on many murals, joining street art techniques, children art styles, and traditional arabesque patterns to reflect the unique perspectives of the camp’s youth.

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The mural project provides children in the camp with an outlet through which they can express themselves, while also building relationships and learning important skills for life and art alike. Mural themes have included what the children missed most about home, what they dream of for the future, as well as the uplifting reminder that the future is in their hands. One demographic of the camp youth includes the “wheelbarrow boys,” young boys who bring items across campgrounds and sell them on the black market, a very dangerous employment for children. The art initiative taught the boys to paint, and allowed them to paint their wheelbarrows in vibrant, joyous hues, and the boys responded very well.

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As a communal entity, the children and artists have created a vibrant, uplifting visual culture within the Za’atari camp, providing a source of life and energy against the dreary background of the Jordan deserts. Many of these refugees would appreciate this, as they were forced to flee their lush, green oasis of Daraa in the midst of the Syrian Civil War. The Za’atari project provides a voice to the refugee youth, who are often overlooked in the crisis. Without a decisive ceasefire in sight, and with so many struggles plaguing the refugees internationally, these murals function as a source of community and hope for the camp inhabitants.

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Street Art & Social Change: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

On the streets of Brooklyn in 2012, local street artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh decided that she had had enough of catcalling. After a stranger on the street asked her to smile for him, she used this as the basis for an ongoing series of street art entitled, Stop Telling Women to Smile (STWTS). Late at night, armed with a roller brush and some posters, Fazlalizadeh began wheat-pasting graphite posters on the walls of public streets, the most common site of catcalling. These posters are all portraits of women, some of the artist herself, but mostly of various different women from all kinds of walks of life. Fazlalizadeh realized as her project went on that street harassment was not restricted to women like her, but that women of all skin colors, religions, sexualities and gender expression were targets as well. In the end, this inspired the diversity and multilinguality of STWTS.

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These portraits are strong, they are sources of power for women. Fazlalizadeh interviewed several women before she made portraits of them. She wanted to understand how experiences differed from and paralleled each other, so that each figure took on her own identity and backstory. These women are direct, they do not allow themselves to be looked upon. They instead look back at their audience, authoritative and powerful. The power of the male gaze is impotent for these women, the only gaze they allow is their own.
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Each figure is accompanied by text, some in English, but also in Spanish, French, and other languages. The text is usually different for each figure, but the tone is the same: there is no debt women owe to men, no reason to be harassed, no place for catcalling. STWTS expands as Fazlalizadeh travels to new places with new cultures, and stands as a visual protest to a patriarchal society that has not learned the true power of the female.

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Pemex & Klops on Widewalls

Pemex and Klops Join Forces in an Exhibition at 1AM Gallery

Last week we stopped by Pemex’s studio to check out the last few steps for his duo show with Klops, “Get With The Program”. Thanks Widewalls.ch for covering the studio visit! See the pair’s finished work at the opening reception at our downtown San Francisco gallery, this Thursday, March 2nd, from 7-10pm. To request a catalog preview: artsales@1amgallery.com.

 

 

Spotlight: A House In Oakland

A House In Oakland has been developed through the collaboration of activists, filmmakers, and graffiti writers as a direct response to the struggles of the homeless community. The collective strives to provide basic necessities to people forced to the streets by gentrification and displacement. This Valentines Day, A House In Oakland provided handmade shelter to homeless men and women.

1AM First Friday Event with Eddie Colla

1AM Gallery is happy to present our First Friday event with Eddie Colla, this Friday, December 2, 2017. Come by our booth to get to know Eddie, and pick up one of his limited edition prints. The prints will be released online that morning at 10AM PST, including 10 hand-embellished prints within the edition of 50. Eddie’s style in these pieces draws on the experience of remembering, where the past is documented or erased by our minds, both at will and at random. Experiences are not taken to be individual entities, but rather a collective that leave a unique imprint on our minds.

Here’s a peak at Longest Winter, as well as a statement from Eddie himself:

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“I created this piece for the exhibition “Nothing Lasts Forever” in August 2015.
The phrase, nothing lasts forever referred literally to the work I had spent the prior year putting up illegally in my travels. More importantly it referred to my life being in a state of flux. I use text in these pieces to both recount and erase. The process of making these pieces is the process of remembering and cataloging my state of mind over a period of time.

The remaining text is not a clear legible narrative, but rather a intersecting cacophony of experiences. To me the clarity of specificity of those experiences is secondary to the collective stain they leave. The mark of things that once were and no longer are. The Longest Winter refers to this period. It was dense and almost impossible to recollect, moving past me at a speed where I was often not there. Either looking ahead or looking back, I missed much of it. Like sleeping on a train and waking with no memory of the journey, only the realization that you have arrived somewhere very different then where you started.

In the end it is usually one person, one chance experience that is the fulcrum. This was mine” – Eddie Colla

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Graffiti, Fun, and Facebook

Facebook joined us in SF for a graffiti workshop, where they all got the chance to try out the art for themselves! Team-building workshops are great for getting out of your shell and having fun as a group! Look at their awesome finished work!

For team building workshops or private class inquiries please contact vanessa@1amsf.com

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Kids Street Art Class

We got back in touch with the kid inside of us with a workshop for these little guys. It was great to show these kids how to make their own art. Check out their finished products!

For team building workshop or private class inquiries please contact vanessa@1amsf.com

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Upcoming Panel Talk at our Downtown Oakland Warehouse

First Amendment Gallery is excited to host “Art To Empire”, a diverse panel talk exploring how to survive as an artist in the Bay Area–defining the art hustle. The panel is made up of some of our local artistic influencers, touching on topics such as gallery insight, personal branding, and industry do’s & don’ts. Bring questions, the floor will be opened for a Q&A after the discussion for creative industry tips! As 1AM has just reached its 8th year in San Francisco, we want to continue sharing our tools and resources to all you creative entrepreneurs that are out here killing it! Join us this Saturday, November 12th, from 5-7pm at 430 15th Street in Oakland. Free all-ages event, but seats are limited so reserve yours now here.


Panel Speakers:

Dan Pan | Founder of 1AM Gallery

1AM, short for First Amendment, represents the freedom of speech through our urban art exhibitions, public murals, and experiences. Our mission is to progress the graffiti and street art culture by creating a cultural space and community of artists, fans, and like minded organizations. Located in downtown San Francisco and Oakland, we are passionate about exhibiting, teaching, painting, and archiving the street art movement while inspiring the public to use their voice with this artistic form of the freedom of speech.

Tion Torrence | Founder of FME Culture

Tion Torrence, aka Bukue One, has been a graffiti artist since 1991. He was surrounded by music courtesy of his father, who was a backup singer for Marvin Gaye’s touring band. Living in the East Bay instilled a political consciousness in him from a young age; his parents were both active members of the Black Panther party. By the time Tion was entering his late teenage years, he was socially conscious, a talented skater, and a renowned graffiti artist. His entry to the hip-hop game came in the form of a live event production company, whose goal was to merge his love of skating and hip-hop. Bukue saw that he could combine his business skill, hustle, and passions to make a solid career. A philosophy that has come to be lifestyle that he practices to this day.

Eddie Colla | Artist

Eddie attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and graduated from the California College of Arts with a BFA in photography/interdisciplinary fine arts in 1991. He began his artistic career as a photographer, working first for the New York Times and later countless magazines, record labels and ad agencies. 15 years later he has morphed into one who counters the all­ pervasive nature of commercialism in public spaces. His work has also been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and many others.

Cameron Moberg | Artist & Winner Of Street Art Showdown

Cameron “Camer1” Moberg is a self-taught artist who paints to bring hope. He fell in love with the trade as a child when his brother introduced him to the art form. Residing in San Francisco with his wife and two sons, Cameron paints murals, canvases, and teaches workshops on the history of graffiti as well as the fundamentals such as can control.

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GE swings by for a Graffiti Workshop!

GE expressed their creativity & created this awesome take home mural on a canvas! This group also learned the history of graffiti, tagging and went on a mural walk tour before coming up with a design for their mural. To learn more about Team Building Workshops and Private Classes please contact vanessa@1amsf.com

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Sprayview in the San Francisco Bayview

Celebrating the very first Sprayview mural festival in San Francisco’s Bayview last weekend, the 1AM family and friends transformed an entire block with murals, starting at Egbert & 3rd St.  In case you missed it, here are some highlights.

Special thanks goes to Cameron Moberg for bringing the visual arts together, as well as contributing work of his own.  Stay tuned for our 1AM Family Show, featuring new work from our talented teachers and mural team, including Cameron, Strider, and many more this upcoming January 2017. For mural inquiries: murals@1amsf.com.

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