In the path of Contemporary Art WRITING
For Said Dokins writing is a form of interpretation of existence where diverse cultural discourses converge; it is a political act that stresses the power relations that shape urban space, history, and the way we understand art. His work articulates the calligraphic discipline with the disruptive gesture of graffiti, tradition, and new technologies. With proficiency, he passes from the philosophical text to the performative action, from the phrase to the event; in the specific place and temporality, he investigates the movement of the bodies and the traces they leave in their transit.
These searches are evident in his large murals, his installations, and site-specific projects, which often include quotes and ideas from thinkers, texts that detonate the flow of collective memory, along with the dialogic processes that he establishes with the communities he interacts with: the exercise of exchange and mutual recognition become rituals that arise in doing together and in the evocation of shared wounds.
His experience in the streets as a young graffiti writer since the 90s, his training in Visual Arts at the National School of Arts and Design (ENAP), as well as in Philosophy and Critical Theory, also at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), his studies in Western calligraphy with renowned teachers, such as Denis Brown and Carl Rohrs, as well as Japanese calligraphy with Master Masahiko Hiyama, added to his deep conceptual interest in the relationships between memory, signs and their modes of representation, led him to develop a unique and personal calligraphy style that combines these calligraphic traditions with references to pre-phonetic writing, the Mesoamerican pre-Hispanic symbolic heritage, and graffiti.
From this mixture of elements, he created his “Primitive Alphabet”, whose letters come to life on conventional supports such as paper or canvas, as well as installations, light painting, or his enormous mural interventions in public space, for which he has obtained notable international attention. In any of the cases, Dokins work is closely linked to the spaces he inhabits but, above all, to the social problems that cross through them, through research and listening to community narratives. On the other hand, among his formal experiments, light has been a central element, whether through video, installation, Virtual Reality, or photography, as is the case of the extraordinary Heliographies of Memory series (2015-2019).
His work can be found on the walls of numerous cities nationally and internationally and has been exhibited in museums and galleries in countries such as Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, China, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, among others. It is part of the collections of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bogotá, MACBO, Colombia.
He has participated in the most important Street Art festivals in the world, such as Nuart Festival in Stavanger, Norway, IPAF Festival in Cape Town South Africa, or Brisbane Street Art Festival in Queensland, Australia, to name a few. In 2019, the Centro de las Artes de San Luis Potosí, Mexico, held the retrospective solo exhibition “Escrituras en Fuga” (“Runaway Writings”), which included some of the most relevant pieces made by the artist during the last ten years. Likewise, works developed expressly were incorporated, for which Dokins evoked the past of the site as a prison, and dug into the layers of history that have given it meaning.
Dokins has obtained numerous awards such as the Cortes de Cádiz Ibero-American Prize for Contemporary Artistic Creation, “Juan Luis Vasallo” 2015, among other recognitions.
Although his work is located mainly at the intersection between contemporary art, Street Art, and calligraphy, his practice as a researcher, curator, and cultural manager is notable. Among his curatorial projects are “Visible invisibilization. Approaches around violence” (2013-2014) and “Urban interstices. International Exhibition of Urban Art” (2011), a paradigmatic sample that configured a cartography of urban artistic practices in Latin America.
He is a member of recognized international associations such as Calligraphy Masters and Calligraffiti. In 2019, he was designated by Forbes Mexico Magazine as one of the “100 most creative Mexicans of the year”. His work has been published in influential books and magazines, such as “Re_form, OSTRALE Biennale of Dresden Catalog”, “The Art of Writing your Name”, “The Art of Rebellion” (third and fourth volumes), or “Letter Arts Review”, a renowned publication specialized in the art of calligraphy.
• Sleeping Languages in Queensland, Participatory artwork with the indigenous community and aboriginal roots from Torres Strait Island that resulted in a mural at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and in the Bowen Hills neighborhood, in collaboration with Digi Youth Arts Foundation, Vast Yonder and State Library of Queensland.
• Næarhet, NUART Festival, Stavanger, Norway. In collaboration with Johannes Læringssenter Foundation.
• Unnamed. Village, Barcú International Art Fair, Bogotá, Colombia.
• Chalchihuite, Calligraphic intervention for the Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art, MUCA, Munich, Germany.
• Identity and difference. 7th Annual PRHBTN Street Art Festival, Lexington, Kentucky, USA.
• Vesperide, Calligraphic intervention for Atelier Les Sauvages, DARWIN Ecosysteme, Bordeaux, France.
• About the memory, Ultraviolet Light calligraphy intervention for Le MUR, Bordeaux, France.
• El orden se derrumba (The Order Crumbles), Graffiti bomb at the border between Mexico and United States, Mexicali.
• Notes about the Border, Calligraphic intervention, Cadiz, Spain.
• Stolen Suns, Calligraphic intervention, Camden, London, UK.
• Runaway Writings. Solo show at the historic Arts Center of San Luis Potosí in Mexico.
• Palimpsests. Solo show at Tortona, Milano Design Week, Italy.
• 11th International Exhibition, OSTRALE Biennale, Dresden, Germany.
• // NO FONT ((CODEX)…, Avantgarden Gallery, Milan, Italy.
• Stroke Art Fair for New Contemporary Art, Munich, Germany.
• Taiyō (Sun), Calligraphic intervention, Futurama Cultural Center, Mexico City.
• Apparitions, Ultraviolet light installation for The House of Indomitable Memory, Mexico City.
• IV Prague Biennale, Expanded Painting Section, “One hundred years. Endogamic & exogamic pictorial practices in México”, Prague, Czech Republic. Curated by Alessandra Poggianti and Juan Pablo Macías.
• Winner- Iberoamerican Prize to Contemporary Artistic Creation Cortes de Cádiz, “Juan Luis Vasallo”, Cadiz City Council, Spain.
• Selected Work- 3rd Edition of the Plastic Arts International Award of Caja de Extremadura “Obra Abierta 2014”, Extremadura, Spain.
• Winner- Youth Prize Federal District (Mexico City). Category: Artistic and Cultural Activities.
• Honorable Mention- International Competition of Urban Art, Artaq Awards, Paris, France. Category: Experimental Video.
• Honorable Mention- International Competition of Urban Art, Artaq Awards, Paris, France. Category: Public Art. [Catalogue]
• Winner- Education and Culture Program Award, National Institute of Fine Arts, INBA, Mexico.
• Winner- University of the Valley of Mexico, UVM Prize for the Social Development, Mexico.
• Winner- Alternative Social Communication Award, General Direction for Equality and Social Diversity (DGIDS), Mexico. Category: Poster.
• Winner- Alternative Social Communication Award, General Direction for Equality and Social Diversity (DGIDS), Mexico. Category: Book
• Andrea Hilger, et. al., Re_form, Dresdren: OSTRALE Biennale, 140-141.
• Christian Hundertmark and Patrick Hardlt, The Art of Writing your Name, Mainaschaff: Publikat, 60-67.
• Christian Hundertmark, The Art of Rebellion. Masterpieces of Urban Art, IV, Mainaschaff: Publikat, 152-153.
• Kristel Pfeiffer, edit., Arte Urbano Latino, Santiago de Chile: Arte Al Límite, 44-53.
• Christopher Calderhead, “Said Dokins: An LAR Interview”, Letter Arts Review, Vol. 30, No. 2, Greensboro: Letter Arts Review, 1, 40-59.
• Joan Peiró, Poliniza Festival D’ Art Urbà, Valencia: Polytechnic University of Valencia.
• Pedro Gadanho, coord., Performance –Architecture, Guimaraes: Guimaraes 2012 European Capital of Culture, Arts & Architecture Cluster, 95.
• Maximiliano Ruiz, Nuevo Mundo, Latin American Street Art, Berlin: Gestalten, 222-223.
• Hundertmark, Christian. The Art of Rebellion. The Book About Street Art, Vol. III, Mainaschaff: Publikat, 152-155.
• Marc Wnuck, Latin America. World Wide Graphic Design. Cologne: Zeixs, Feierabend Unique Books, 133.