Alba GriffinSep 22, 2023
Reading the Walls of Bogota
Graffiti, Street Art, and the Urban Imaginary of Violence
University of Pittsburgh Press 2023
A cultural imaginary is a structuring space through which collective understandings of cultural and society phenomena are formed, reproduced, and accepted as the norm. Reading the Walls of Bogota: Graffiti, Street Art, and the Urban Imaginary of Violence (U Pittsburgh Press, 2023) uses graffiti and street art to explore the urban imaginaries of violence in Bogotá, Colombia. These artistic forms are produced and received in different ways in different areas of the city and offer an insight into citizens’ everyday experiences and perceptions of violence from the political, to the personal, to that of structural inequality. Through graffiti, in which critiques of memory, space, politics, and aesthetics are embedded, artists and their viewers form vernacular theories through which they interpret the world and the spaces they inhabit.
By focusing on creative expression, Alba Griffin shows how Bogotá’s residents respond to imaginaries of violence, how they critique the norms, how they appropriate space to challenge or negotiate violence, and how they push back against inequality.
Victoria Oana Lupașcu is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies at University of Montréal. Her areas of interest include medical humanities, visual art, 20th and 21st Chinese, Brazilian and Romanian literature and Global South studies.