Alexandre Farto spends his days creating towering works on the buildings of Lisbon and London — portraits of people that mirror urban decay, dissolving into scratches and splatters. Their stretched-out visages gaze over these cities with solemn, elegant omniscience.
Meanwhile, Shai Dahan adorns walls, facades and barriers in Gothenburg and Borås with colorful odes to Swedish history and culture, inspiring conversations and heated debates between strangers via sticky notes posted on building walls.
New Zealand-raised Peap Tarr paints in Phnom Penh to connect with his heritage, working through issues of identity, influence and geography with sweeping murals saturated with Cambodian culture. They brim with both color and emotion.
Every street artist has a story to tell. Just one of the things that these three have in common: they all have brought their art and stories to TEDx stages, speaking to the local communities that see their art, engage in dialogue with it, and even inspire it.
“[Art] is how we express ourselves without having to speak,” Shai Dahan said at TEDxGöteborg. “I found I can communicate with people through art … The beauty of it is that it is understood by people all around the world, every single day.”
A wide assortment of street artists have spoken at TEDx events about why they make the art that they do — about what inspires them and drives them, and about what they mean and don’t mean to say through their work.
To celebrate this global symphony of artistry, we’ve created an exhibit of TEDx street art over at the Google Cultural Institute. It’s like an online museum wing, highlighting the art, ideas and stories of artists who’ve spoken or shared work at TEDx events. In this exhibit, street artists from across the world are brought together for virtual viewing.
The Google Cultural Institute is a digital platform that aims to make world culture available to anyone, anywhere. It brings together millions of artifacts and includes collections from all kinds of museums, historical foundations and education-focused organizations. The TEDx Street Art exhibit is the first in the TED Collection. Stay tuned for much more.