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Detroit Street Art: The Decline of Detroit, Poverty and Racial Tensions

The usual way that we cover graffiti art follows this schema. First, we share a photo of the piece on location. Then, we highlight the conversations that this particular piece of street art invites. We then go on to breathe life into contextual issues. Often, this involves digging up the psyche of the artist who put it up. Neither is it limited to describing the geopolitical and cultural narratives that explain why that particular street art adorns area x,y,z of city a,b,c. We then love to cap it by highlighting elicited conversation points on contemporary 21st century issues where readers can enjoin. Today we chanced upon a collection of Detroit street art. Enjoy…

detroit street art depicting four shirtless men bearing physical features of native Americn tribes and bearing solemn looks pulling ropes in the manner that a man would pull a heavy load

Detroit was founded by Europeans in 1701 when the colonial French established a fort here as a center for trading. The European population numbered 100 French soldiers, farmers and merchants. The first women arrived in September. The fort attracted Native Americans of the region, and bands of various tribes settled nearby, including the Huron. They soon far outnumbered the French.Detroit’s population began to expand rapidly based on resource extraction from around the Great Lakes region, especially lumber and mineral resources. It entered the period of largest and most rapid growth in the early 20th century and through World War II, with the development of the auto industry and related heavy industry. Attracting hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, the Near East, and black and white migrants from the South, the city became a boom town. By 1920 it was the fourth-largest city in the country. Source: Wikipedia. Image| Courtesy

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ecause today, we stumbled upon a snapshot of Detroit street art. So encompassing it is that we urge our readers to find their way to Rebel Metropolis . There, they will discover gripping visual pieces. Expressions that they will find explanatory. Describing any of these pseudonyms of graffiti art: mural art, spary art, urban art, street art. We credit twitter user @LaMolina for leading us to this world of Detroit street art. We oblige in their choice of the work above as an embodiment of the grit and soul of  Detroit street art..

Important conversations that this collection of Detroit Street art invites the gallery to

  • Neo-liberlisim and globalization and their effect on local livelihoods.
  • Racial tensions manifest as eruptive confrontations centered on colonialism, slavery, gentrification and appropriation of cultures.
  • The heroes of before. Their deferred dreams. Their collective and personal sacrifices that characterize the indelible contributions of our forefathers to the rubric of 21st century existence.

Where in the world?

Detroit. The collector, Rebel Metropolis, describes the canvas as follows:

While stickers get scraped off poles and tags get buffed by hourly wage ‘Ambassadors’ downtown, there’s still about 138 square miles of metropolitan wilderness throughout Detroit. In all the ways art functions as art, Detroit functions, too

Graffiti Artist

Rebel Metropolis again offers a hint to who might be the creators of Detroit street art

Recently, Detroit has become a city where despite hundreds of unsolved murders and arsons, the cops have time to prosecute Shephard Fairey. It’s a city where Dan “I’m Watching You” Gilbert personally trains his spy cameras on teenage taggers and puts bounties on their heads.

Where to Pick The Conversation From

The decline of Detroit has been apportioned to many social phenomena. From geography, where its status as a preferred destination for economic refugees, opportunists and romanticists was irrevocably damaged after the “12th street riot” whose roots lie in racial animosity. Commentators, have also labelled Detroit as a victim of global economic events namely: the sub-prime bubble, downsizing and outsourcing of the auto industry.

Detroit’s  poverty is seen as a factor of a failed school system, part of a wider problem afflicting many urban centers in the 21st century. Still others identify poor leadership, lack of an efficient transit system and the numbing effect of widespread poverty as culprits. All considered, as Detroit street art thrives, questions beg. Is graffiti art emblematic of this rot or is it akin to a phoenix rising form the ashes?

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