For this week’s Bomb It 2 installment on Babelgum we went back to Asia to look at Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Jakarta has a vibrant graffiti and street art scene and was my first stop after Bangkok (covered in week 1 of Bomb It 2). I was there for only six hours – but I had a chance to film and interview Darbotz who paints a giant monster squid and freely talks about street art and its relationship to semiotics!
Finding graffiti writers in Singapore was perhaps the most startling since I was familiar with the very strict laws and caning used against graffiti writers there. I was headed to Singapore to teach at the NYU campus there and planned to use that as a base to film graffiti and street art elsewhere in Asia, but I didn’t think that I was going to meet any there. But I was pleasantly surprised to be able to talk to both Killer Gerbil as well as Zero, two street artists who were very aware of the odd relationship that their country has with illegal painting on walls and how the country while clamping down on graffiti also tries to co-opt it.
Finally this week are two pieces on the Hong Kong artists Mic and Xeme. Xeme is also responsible for Invasion Magazine – about all things street and graff in Asia. In Hong Kong as with much of the rest of Asia – there are many walls to paint – and not that many artists – or anti graffiti sentiment – eg it is pretty easy to paint in Asia. Xeme finds himself bringing graffiti tourists around to the best spots. But I particularly liked that he spoke about writing in Chinese – and the difficulty communicating with an international scene when he uses his local language.
Mic talks not only about the irony of being arrested by the Chinese government for doing graffiti – while at the same time being commissioned to do murals for the same government (even the police). He also speaks eloquently about his works relationship to the public space in Hong Kong and the plethora of advertising that they are assaulted with every day.
I hope you like the pieces – and I’d love to hear your thoughts!