The giant mural painted by Italian street artist Blu in Buenos Aires featuring thousands of figures with their eyes covered by one endless blindfold in the colours of the Argentine flag was vandalized this week. Someone has written the Spanish word “Y” meaning ‘And’ with a question mark after it over two of Blu’s figures.
The piece was painted in November during Blu’s latest trip to Argentina. Shortly after, BA Street Art published photos of the mural by Blu, it provoked more than 150 comments on BA Street Art’s Facebook page and website with both praise and insults in equal measure. Blanca Antoine wrote: “Sadly it is… our reality!!!”
Analia Veronica Bonomi commented: “In reality it is perfect… it is a cruel reflection of Argentines… we see what we want to see… or we don’t want to see what they show us!!!”
Jorge Campilongo remarked: “This is exactly what happens in Argentina, would you like it so that we don’t see anything and live in ignorance, it is like that. The graffiti is very good.”
Santiago Ruau wrote: “Take away the flags over the eyes and we see that we are all inhabitants of the earth! Good Blu.”
Bruno Calabró: “I agree that it is anti-patria and I think it’s cool. This blind fanaticism that generates the flags divides more than it unites, we are all citizens of the world.”
Javier Quiroga: “The mural is very good but I think it has a strong political content. I don’t believe that we (Argentines) are as Blu expresses. I think the opposite, we have our eyes more open than ever and there is more participation than in many other governments.”
Sebastian Gonzalez: “Blu’s art is excellent but the message is wide of the mark. Our model is participative and democratic. The Italians must learn from us before portraying us in this coarse manner. They are the ones who have just appointed the former director of an international bank (Mario Monti of Goldman Sachs) as their head of state.”
Ranglon Rollerman: “Blind patriots and fools. Argentina isn’t like that.”
Mariela Billordo: “This is nothing apolitical, don’t confuse yourselves. Politics is everywhere and everyone is doing it including Blu. I don’t like it, sincerely it offends me. Boo Blu.”
Leandro Pimentel: “How tired I am of the Europeans who believe themselves to be the saviours of Latin America. And after the nuggets burn in their tiny continent, they coming running here to carry on stealing. Blu, why don’t you use the little flag of your own country as if it’s not screwed up enough.”
Damaging: taking offence
Axel Vegas: “It’s a mural of extremely high intellect… to whoever intends to ruin the mural, I would suggest making a new one and not destroying what he’s created.”
Several individuals threatened to destroy Blu’s artwork. Pablo Diaz said: “Every time that I return from school I see it, it annoys me… what a shitty mural!!! I don’t know who or why they made it there?? I propose to go with an aerosol and paint all over it.”
A number of Argentines have taken offence and interpreted Blu’s artwork as depicting the electorate as ‘blind followers’ following Cristina Fernandéz de Kirchner’s convincing presidential victory in October. Despite Blu pointing out that if you are not in Argentina you can change the colour of the flag (in the mural) depending which country you are in, someone has still decided to deface the artwork.
BA Street Art thinks art should provoke debate, discussion and opinions both positive and negative. Like Banksy, it’s great that Blu has the guts to tackle edgy and often controversial topics and make political commentary in his art. Of course some people might not like what Blu has to say but there is no need to damage what in our opinion is one of the best pieces of street art in 2011 by one of most-talented street artists in the world. Please let us know what you think.
These comments have been translated into English. To see the original comments in Spanish go to the posts on BA Street Art’s Facebook page