My journey in Rome street art ran among the streets of Tor Pignattara district and revealed to me that it’s not just a simple urban make-up: it is rather a non-verbal communication between the artists, the residents and the people passing through.
Tor Pignattara is a district located in the east quadrant of the capital, in the last years redeveloped with important projects. Essentially, the contribution given by the “contemporary muralism” (what we commonly call “mural”) is an art form that restore life and color to the anonymous facades of the buildings. And not only.
The itinerary, designed by the Festina Lente association on the traces of street art in Rome, will give you a journey into the history of movement, from graffiti to contemporary muralism to understand the potential of an art, born out of museums, dialoguing directly with the public, telling discomforts, challenging systems, claiming public spaces.
The Tor Pignattara project
With our guide, Veronica, we discover works supported from art galleries (in Tor Pignattara the most dynamic are the Wunderkammern Gallery and the Art Gallery Varsi), from the effervescent neighborhood committee that promoted the project I Love Torpignart (with the aim of freeing the walls to put them available to artists for free or directly produce murals; on the website you will find all the works in the neighborhood with photos, descriptions and addresses), municipalities and, thought, by the same property owners, which “offer” their facades as canvases for the realization of huge murals! A cultural upheaval, if only in 1982, the City of Rome, for not hurting the sensibility of Michail Gorbaciov visiting the city, decided to remove a graffiti made by Keith Haring on the walls of the bridge over the Tiber near the stop Flaminio – Lepanto of the meter A!
Ready for the Tor Pignattara street art tour?
Made by Etam Cru, a pair of Polish artists, with its 32 meters of height, Coffee Break is the highest mural in the capital. A little curiosity: during the construction of the mural many residents of the palace offered to prepaire coffee for the artists, inducing them to insert a hot coffee in the work to thank them. WHERE: via Ludovico Pavoni, 118 (at the intersection with via del Pigneto).
The mural at the beginning of the article, created by Dulk, a Spanish artist, has particularly impressed me with its colors and the design with a surreal style, sweet and melancholy at the same time. WHERE: Via Antonio Tempesta, 215. After admiring this fantastic animal, half panda half fox, turn around and admire from the best possible perspective the beautiful artwork of Etnik.
With the mural of the florentine Etnik, one of the leading exponents of the Italian scene, we return again to the great dimensions. The facade of the building has two levels and the artist was able to use perspective for giving a sense of continuity to the image. This mural has been a victim of time, which remind us that these works are born with the idea of having an ephemeral duration and not for being eternal. WHERE: via Bartolomeo Perestrello, 51 (even if, as I said, to have a perfect view, it is necessary to go to via Antonio Tempesta).
Daniele Tozzi‘s murals, on the other hand, are a tribute to the Assalti Frontali, a Roman rap group much loved by the artist during his adolescence, whose songs contain the lyrics. Graffiti expert with a.k.a. Pepsy and urban calligraphy today, he creates very intense works in which letters give shape to the images. Next to “The Stomach is Sazieted , the Heart is hungry” you can admire a “wolf” howling at the moon “If the wind is screaming at me I shout against the wind”. WHERE: Via della Marranella, 110.
Let’s see how many people will be able to identify the signature of L’Atlas, a French artist, within the homonymous mural! WHERE: Via Galeazzo Alessi, 219.
“You can’t touch the ground until you’ve reached the sky” this is the phrase that frames the work Tom Sawyer by Jef Aerosol, a French artist and one of the graffiti pioneers. He was struck by this young artistic genre, during a Cure concert, when he saw a writer at work! WHERE: Via Gabrio Serbelloni, 60.
The mural A cat, a bird and the face of an old man made by C215, another french artist, struck me for its expressiveness: doesn’t it seem to speak with the person who scrutinizes you from the wall? WHERE: Via Ciro da Urbino, 12-14.
The work of Carlos Atoche, peruvian artist, has a particular history. It was born from the will of Maura Crudeli to see a mural on the façade of her building, from the support of the neighborhood committee and the generous solidarity of the residents of the area, who participated in the fundraising necessary for the realization of the project. A beautiful story of community, in a world that is now more and more individualistic, which has given us an explosion of colors in a street otherwise dominated (only) by traffic. WHERE: between Via Pietro Rovetti and Via di Tor Pignattara.
“In time of need we entrust ourselves the people as our family. It would be nice to remember these bonds even in moments of strength “. A sweet and expressive mural made by Herakut, a couple of german artists. WHERE: Via Capua, 11.
This 6-hand mural entitled Melting Faces & Stories & District is the synthesis of a project that saw the artists Diavù, Lucamaleonte and Nic Alessandrini, interact directly with some families in the neighborhood and remind us that Tor Pignattara has always been a multi-ethnic community. The first artist, Diavù, was a guest of a Chinese family who had to emigrate to Italy in ’79 because of waiting for the second daughter, a forbidden thing in the country until 2013 by law. The second artist, Lucamaleonte, met the christian family of Bangladesh, a religious minority in the country. Nic Alessandrini, instead, told the story of an Italian family of butchers of Palestrina, who moved to Rome in the hope of a better working future. WHERE: Via dell’Acqua Bullicante, 24.
We concluded our tour with the works created to support the redevelopment of the Impero cinema. They are Diavù stencil dedicated to Italian cinema symbols whose history is intertwined with the district. Pier Paolo Pasolini, Mario Monicelli and Anna Magnani, interpreter of “Roma Città Aperta” with a scene shot in the Tor Pignattara district. WHERE: via dell’Acqua Bullicante, 121.