By EVANGELINE COMEAU-KIRSCHNER, age 9
In March 2015, women from all over the world gathered in London for Femme Fierce, a festival to highlight street art created by women.
Fiorela (Fio) Silva, a muralist and illustrator from Argentina who attended, told IndyKids, “It was a beautiful experience and I created wonderful memories there.” Her artistic style includes drawing animals, leaves, trees and other natural things together to paint situations that she says “give a sensation of life, strength and movement.”
The festival, which took place during International Women’s Week, was an opportunity for the artists to meet each other and have their work appreciated at a global level. “It would be great to organize meetings like this all over the world in order to create spaces for cultural exchange,” said Silva after attending Femme Fierce 2015.
Women are not new to the urban art scene. Danielle Link, who works with the street art-focused Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York City, points out that there are female street artists like Faith47, Miss Van, Swoon, Maya Hayuk and Olek who “have been making works on the street for well over a decade and are finally getting the recognition they deserve.” Silva also believes that there are more women street artists today than we have seen in the past. In fact, she says, “Nowadays, women have carved out a defined space for themselves.”
Interview with Argentine Street Artist Fiorela Silva
Evangeline Comeau-Kirschner: What kinds of art do you like to paint? What are some themes you use in your work?
Fio Silva: I love to draw animals and other organic (living or related to living things) things together. I always paint a lot of leaves, branches, tree trunks and any type of animal. My style is defined by these elements as well as the colors that I use. To paint a wall I always need white and black paint, as well as the three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. Not much more than this. I love to paint situations that give a sensation of life, strength and movement.
ECK: Do you think men and women paint differently? Do you think women are not taken as seriously as men in street art? Is this changing?
FS: I think that previously men received more recognition for their street art. But I don’t think it is like that anymore. I don’t think there is a difference between a woman or a man who paints in the streets. If they make something that is beautiful and cool, gender doesn’t make a difference. I also think that nowadays there are many women painting in the street, and their work is valued. This is a very good thing, because I always consider it important to emphasize the value of women in society.
ECK: Do you think more women are becoming street artists these days? Why is that happening now?
FS: Perhaps a few years ago there were fewer women than today. But I think that right now the number of men and women street artists is pretty even. Maybe before, the subjects of urban intervention and graffiti were more associated with masculinity, but this is no longer the case.
ECK: Do you think that women street artists face certain challenges? If so, what kinds?
FS: No, I think that nowadays, women have carved out a defined space for themselves—at least in my culture and in the places that I’ve visited. The world is huge, and I don’t know exactly how it is in far away countries or places I’ve never been to, but I don’t want to generalize and speak for all women.
ECK: You just participated in “Femme Fierce,” an all women street art festival in London. Was it fun? How did it feel to be part of a special event like that?
FS: Femme Fierce was a cool experience—I’ve never participated in a festival like it, painting with so many women at the same time in a place so far from my home. It was a beautiful experience and I created wonderful memories there. It would be great to organize meetings like this all over the world in order to create spaces for cultural exchange.
ECK: You said that street art is “socially accepted” in South America. Do you find the same acceptance in other countries and for female street artists?
FS: Yes, I believe that in South America, street art is very accepted—not in every country, but in general, yes. It’s simpler to paint in the street: people let you use the the walls of their house and there are excellent public art projects.
At the same time, there are measures and policies that threaten street art and try to punish street artists. In my experience, I’ve noticed that the situation is very different in European countries: it’s more difficult to paint in the street—you need permission. In this sense, I think there is still a lot of work to be done in order to allow urban art to grow and to be able to beautify and contribute to culture and art.