Of course, I know that most of the works that I can see in the streets of Valparaíso and Santiago Chile are painted by crews, which sometimes consist of both men and women. In addition, I know women who paint graffiti with their boyfriends, couples who even form crews of two together, like Unkolordistinto, the crew of Jekse and Cines. I also know a Chilean crew called Crazys, consisting exclusively of women painters.
Based on some books and articles I’ve read and the few interviews and conversations that I’ve managed to have with the Chilean women who paint graffiti I’ve come to believe that contemporary graffiti cannot only be considered male art. I do not know if the same applies to the situation in Finland, my country, but at least in South America, women have made a strong and enthusiastic entry into the street art scene, already some time ago. They don’t try to hide their gender identity behind the backs of their graffiti making boyfriends or behind styles and themes that appear male. One of the graffiteras I interviewed by email wrote that what she would like to achieve in her painting is that you could see there is a woman or women behind it. She gave tribute to her gender, and in her art she liked to express and celebrate her femininity: “In my themes I always reflect the functions of nature and the woman… to be understood as feminine, maternal woman, sensuality, energy and mother Earth etc.”
This celebration of femininity in graffiti is so interesting and inspiring that I find myself planning to visit Chile again. However, there are also other aspects in Chilean and, more generally, in South American graffiti, that interest me, such as its themes or motifs, which often seem more figurative, elaborate, showy and playful than, for example, those of Finnish graffiti.
But, naturally, and above all, I would love to be able to hear and speak the Chilean language again and to spend time with my distant friends in the soft spring nights, listening to cumbia, dancing salsa, and drinking the best red wine in the world under the stars that are never seen in the skies of my own country…