Investigating Street Art in Latin America. Interview with Olivier Dabène

Artwork by LapiztolaOlivier Dabène is the author of Street Art and Democracy in Latin America, published by Palgrave. The author presents the results of a several year long project in several cities of Latin America during which he investigated and questioned the relation between street art and (local) democracy. Olivier Dabène has accepted to answer our questions and present his book.

What triggered your interest in street art?

My book finds its origin in a two-year stay in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2000-2002. My research interests back then focused on democracy operating at the local level under very adverse background conditions including very high levels of violence and abysmal inequalities. As I was exploring some of the most deprived areas of the city, I soon discovered they were home to amazing artistic creativity. I started to study the way disenfranchised groups used arts to voice their frustration and nurture public debates (...)