By Matthew J
Hey, Panmela. Did you realize it’s been almost two years since you and I did our first interview together for BSCi ? A lot can happen in twenty-four months so I’m curious to know what’s new with both you and Anarkia?
Anarkia: Wow! Two years ago is a long time! Things have changed a lot since that last interview. I made a transform in my mind at the time and have since become a feminist. Before I used to be confused by lots of thing that I thought were wrong in the World, but I didn’t know if all these thoughts were just mine or if others shared my opinions. Eventually, I discovered that there were other people who think like me so I started getting in contact with them and everything became clearer [to me]. Because of all this I made a big change in myself and also the way that I look and accept the life; reflecting and creating a big revolution -change- in my art.
Anarkia: Today, I use my own experiences, when exploring the streets, to construct my artwork. I think about the city as a jungle territory, looking at it from the viewpoint of a woman. It is not just about putting the paint on a wall, it is about attitude behind the art. This is my inspiration: To think of women being in a place or position which people usually do not expect them to be in. I want to create something that surprises the viewer, makes them curious, and gets them thinking.
Speaking of changes and Women’s issues, Brazil recently elected its first female President, Dilma Rousseff. Being that you’re first and foremost a woman and an activist what does President Rousseff’s election mean to you, personally? What are some of the hopes and dreams you have for Brazil and this new Presidency?
Anarkia: One point that I like to expose about to have a woman president is the symbolic paper that it has. Dilma is a symbol that the woman got your place in our society and can do and be whatever they want. Of course there are lots of changes that we still need now to help continue with this [social] revolution, but the new generation of girls are growing up in a country with role models not just like this incredible woman, but others that are broking the barriers.
Last year, 2010, was a very busy year for you in which a lot of great things were accomplished. One of your major accomplishments was the award you received in New York from the Vital Voices Global Partnership in the HUMAN RIGHTS category. That is a huge accomplishment, especially for a graffiti writer to win. Tell me about your involvement with the project. What has that whole experience been like and how are you using your new momentum to impact lives?
Anarkia: Recently, I founded the Nami Feminist Urban Art Network that is a way to continue with my work with others girls that divide with me this felling and love about the faith of change the world. It is important to try to talk with people in a way that they want to listen. People wants to say things but today we have so much information in everywhere that people can´t pay attention in everything, especially if it is boring. To talk with youth, you have to talk with the same language of them. Nami do this job. Since I start with this work about use graffiti as tool to promote women rights, people has been interesting about how it can happens, specially because of the graffiti that for then is a different kind of media that is lots of time been seen just as vandalism. Really special women have been honored with the same award such former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and the Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, and for me was very important to be in the same position as these powerful women and to see my work in Rio with the graffiti girls being recognized. Working in our homelands, sometimes, we cannot always see how important our work is important and how much we are helping the others. Vital Voices was founded by the sub-secretary Hillary Clinton, when she still was the First Lady of the United States, and is doing a good job promoting and acknowledging important work made by women who are trying to make the World better.
You’ve been putting in a lot of work as an activist, not just for graffiti, but for women’s equality issues, too. I know this touches on what we discussed earlier about Feminism, but I still want to know a bit more about what motivates you to fight these fights? There are many people who don’t get involved in social commentary, but you do. Why is that?
Anarkia: As a Brazilian citizen I feel an obligation to contribute in any way needed to make things better and equal for my people. The way that I find to do this job is using my images to fight against issues that I have experienced myself and multiplication this feelings to have more and more people helping to make a better world.
Pichação is not graffiti. It is a different culture that we just have in Brazil. It is two different ways to think especially in a country that people like graffiti and consider it arts! This is why the tag movements of pichação got a different way in Brazil.
This year the director Gustavo Coelho is launching a film documentary called “Luz, Câmera, Pichação!” (www.luzcamerapichacao.com.br) and I am one of the principle characters in the documentary. The purpose of the film is to make people think not just about the theme related to art but also the society which generate this kind of people. I started in the street doing pichação and now I do graffiti. I think that my character shows the limit between one and the other.
In the last interview, we discussed you being the FIRST woman to with a HUTUZ award. Since that time, I want to know whether or not the male-majority has begun to embrace female artists in Brazil? There are so many talented women artist. Are women getting a fair representation in Brazil?
Anarkia: In 2010 I had received the same award in Brazil as the Graffiti Artist of the Decade with Ment and Graphis. It was great but I strongly feel that we need more and more girls to be at the same positions, in quality and quantity, as the men; not just in graffiti but in all areas considered “masculine spaces”.
Awhile back you did some work in Toronto with Canadian artist EGR. I know your schedule is very busy, but do you have any plans of coming back to Canada, soon?
Anarkia: Yes! Toronto was one of the places I visited and I liked it a lot and made some good friends there. I want to go to Montreal, too. I painted with EGR in Festival Manifesto in 2008 and I would like to be invited again. EGR is a nice woman and a brilliant artist. I would like to show her my city and she her reaction when she figures out the amount of space we have to paint. Plus, we have good weather all the time! (haha)
In regards to 2011, what can we expect from you this year? Do you have particular projects we should be looking for?
Anarkia: I am dedicate this beginning 2011 in my new series about doing graffiti on men; their bodies. I call it “EAT ART” and ironically it is feminist artwork. The great thing is not to explain the images, but to wait to see the reactions of the people who come in contact with the pieces.
Do you have any final words you have to the readers, especially female writers? Anything you say is appreciated.
Anarkia: I just want to tell them that graffiti is more than color, is about attitude. If you want be a good graffiti writer, you have to go to the streets and put in the work.
For more information on Anarkia as well as the Nami Feminist Urban Art Network, check out: www.anarkiaboladona.com