Said Dokins at Periferia Festival VI
— Memory as Resistance
Bogotá has emerged as one of the leading hubs of urban art in Latin America. This recognition stems from several factors, one of which is the presence of rebellious collectives that have played a pivotal role in resistance since the so-called “social outbreak,” a series of protests that erupted in response to the tax reform proposal by the government of Iván Duque in 2021
Bogotá’s Graffiti Scene: Navigating the Tensions Between Art and Governance
It’s worth mentioning the government’s interest in activism, urban art, and graffiti in the city as well. For over a decade, graffiti meetings have been held, and in 2012, the District Graffiti Board was established, an entity designed, at least in theory, to facilitate dialogue between artists and government representatives with the goal of organizing and giving voice to artistic expression in public institutions.
Periferia VI: Celebrating Diverse Artistic Expressions and Counterculture
This situation has created a unique dynamic in the world of contemporary urban art. On one hand, there are tensions and controversies related to social struggle, and on the other, the state’s progress in implementing regulations for public spaces and involving actors trying to “promote” the practice in these spaces.
Amidst this backdrop, it’s hard not to find a certain irony. Urban art, often associated with rebellion and resistance, now finds itself in a terrain where the government also wants to have its say. It is in this context that the sixth edition of the Periferia Festival is celebrated, an event of creativity and inclusion in the realm of urban art and counterculture in the city. This sixth edition of the festival is not only a showcase of diverse artistic expressions, from muralism to music and new technologies, but also confronts a contemporary issue: social amnesia.
Exploring Truth and Memory: Said Dokins’ ‘Aletheia’ Mural
Noteworthy is the participation of international artist Said Dokins, whose work invariably delves into memory and societies. Hailing from Mexico, Dokins joins the festival with an artistry that transcends conventions. His mural, “Aletheia, Far from Oblivion,” stands as a monumental piece exploring the nexus between truth and memory. Through abstract and calligraphic strokes, lettering, and typographic stylization, Dokins inscribes the word “OLVIDO” (forgetting) across a mural spanning over 300 square meters. Yet, this mural extends beyond words; it beckons reflection on the imperative to preserve our collective history.
The potency of this work lies in its play on words. ‘Aletheia’ in Greek signifies truth, but when deconstructed, ‘lethe’ emerges, translating to oblivion and stemming from the concept of the hidden. This river of Hades, inducing complete forgetfulness upon drinking its waters, becomes a potent symbol in Dokins’ mural. While memory, symbolized by “Mnemósine” in Greek mythology, stands in stark contrast to oblivion, Aletheia becomes the negation of forgetfulness, hence truth as memory.
Dokins challenges us to consider that truth resides in the absence of concealment, in constant exposure to questions and critiques, and in the battle against oblivion.
In the context of Periferia VI Festival, this work gains even greater significance. The festival’s theme, centered on collective amnesia, finds resonance in Dokins’ mural. His art urges us to look back as we progress in a digitally connected world, reminding us that truth and memory are foundational pillars for a society conscious of its history and social struggles.
In addition to Dokins’ contribution, the festival presents a rich amalgamation of local, national, and international artists in both muralism and independent music. The large-scale murals along Street 26, from La Estrella to the International Center, metamorphose into a visual reminder of cultural diversity.