Home Institution

Goucher College

Publication Date

Spring 2010

Program Name

Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights


There are an ever-growing number of social movements in the city of Buenos Aires, and a number of these groups are using art in the streets in an attempt to “recuperate” urban neighborhoods. Muralism is an art form and a concept that has a long legacy of militancy and vanguardism. This paper will address the breach between art as a product and a social reality by analyzing the meaning of muralism. What is the role of the muralist and what is the social function of the mural? Or more importantly, what is the social function a social organization or movement gives to the mural? How is it used and why? This paper presents a theoretical framework that examines the social function of a mural by defining a mural in the way it is produced and consumed, or taken in by the public. Through an anthropological perspective of field observation and participant observation I will present what muralism means to social groups in Buenos Aires. Through an analysis of murals produced by political, social, and religious movements, social organizations, and the government, this project examines the intentions and outcomes muralists create and anticipate by strategically putting a mural in a public space. By examining the content and the “form of work” in which the mural is produced this project will show how and why a mural is given social meaning. Ultimately this paper should shed light on reasons why groups would use muralism as a form of militancy or as a tool for social change.


Art Practice | Politics and Social Change


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