9/30/08

Indigenous Rights – The Galdino Mural

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On Sunday 14 September in Waitangi Skate Park Wellington’s top graffiti crew Triple S (TS) painted a mural supporting indigenous rights. In the month when the 'October 15th' deposition hearing is taking place involving members of Tuhoe and other New Zealand activists who supported Maori indigenous struggle for self determination, this mural could not have come at a better time.


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Indigenous Rights – No One’s Child Should Die –
The Galdino Mural

On Sunday 14 September in Waitangi Skate Park Wellington’s top graffiti crew Triple S (TS) painted a mural supporting indigenous rights. In the month when the 'October 15th' deposition hearing is taking place involving members of Tuhoe and other New Zealand activists who supported Maori indigenous struggle for self determination, this mural could not have come at a better time.

Triple S Crew were approached to paint this mural by Dean Hapeta (Te Kupu – www. tekupu. com) on behalf of a USA-based activist music group, IR (onewatchman.wordpress.com), that uses music to support indigenous rights. This had been a worldwide call-out to help remember the horrific death of the Pataxo Indian Galdino Jesus dos Santos, an indigenous man who while he lay on the streets sleeping, was murdered by a group of rich children, who as a “joke” to poured gasoline on him and set fire to him. Their treatment in the justice system was privileged and they only received mild sentences, as the life of this indigenous man was not seen as that significant. It has been ten years since his death but Galdino’s murder will not be forgotten. Due to political pressure, none of the traditional murals that are painted in Brazil to represent such a loss in a community were allowed. This is why Triple S Crew decided that they would step up and honour this life.

Triple S felt that up until recently Maori and Pacific people had a much stronger voice and were in a position to help other indigenous people who have been silenced by oppressive regimes.

Triple S have been involved in community work pretty much since their inception. From the early days, when member and much smaller Kerb1 protested the Springbok tour, and many members walking to support the 2004 hikoi organised during Foreshore and seabed controversy in opposition to the nationalisation of New Zealand's foreshore and seabed along the coastline , to now with the youth work they do. Triple S work with mainly at-risk youth both informally and through a project called The Next (www.thenext.org.nz) in their own unique and highly effective way using the four elements of hip-hop culture, B boying, MCing, Graffiti/Writing and DJing. Doing this mural was a natural step in what they have always done and so of course they jumped at the chance of painting this mural on a sunny spring afternoon in Wellington.

They chose the skate park to paint the mural, as children would see it and would be made aware of the injustices that happen to indigenous people around the world. During the painting, young people were very curious about why they were painting images and not graffiti “letters” that they are used to seeing Triple S paint at the skate park. Spex One (the only female in the crew) patiently explained to young people who came up to her, that this was to represent the tragic murder of Galdino, who had been killed by Brazilian rich children. The young people were outraged, saying that “it is so wrong” and “no one should be killed”. They were so shocked that any young people could do this.

This day was a great success, not only remembering Galdino and his family, who I am sure could never have perceived that he would be remembered halfway around the world in Aotearoa, but also in the way Triple S and the children interacted. Despite the difficulty of painting they were always patient and took time to talk to the children who came to talk to them. Juse One developed quite a following and agreed to “graff” a couple of the smaller children’s skateboards, much to their delight.

Painting community murals is not a new thing for Triple S. In Kerb’s home suburb of Newtown you can see numerous murals on a community centre and also murals they have painted in the main street with local children. And they realise that the struggle to help indigenous children starts in their own country too. Helping children express their anger using music, art and dance, helps empower them in a world that has rejected them. Murals such as the one they painted for Galdino show children how their art can become a way to the change world.


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Click on image for a larger version

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2 comments:

Indigenous Peoples Advocate said...

Thanks for sharing. Public art is a great way to bring the plight of indigenous peoples to a wider audience as many people who would not know will become aware of the situation. More such public displays are needed.

Wilkins Wellington JR said...

Hello,


I have read through your articles, but there is one question that I ask of you - and that is: How would you deal with the problems that the Indigenous population faces, and what is it that you want done to the colonists( Europeans)?