Hi, I'm Chota13 from Commune 13 (Medellin)

By Séverine Grosjean - Monday, August 7, 2017
Hi, I'm Chota13 from Commune 13 (Medellin)

John Alexander, of his artist name Chota13, is a graffiti artist aged 27 years. He wears the unifrom of young people from all over the world: a t-shirt, sports pants and sports shoes. His story could be that of any young man too fast pushed from these sensitive areas that surround world metropolis. His is called Comuna 13, in Medellin, Colombia, antechamber of hell yesterday, now famous for its graffiti gallery in the open air and its escalators.

Hi, I'm Chota13 from Commune 13 (Medellin)

John Alexander, of his artist name Chota13, is a graffiti artist aged 27 years. He wears the unifrom of young people from all over the world: a t-shirt, sports pants and sports shoes. His story could be that of any young man too fast pushed from these sensitive areas that surround world metropolis. His is called Comuna 13, in Medellin, Colombia, antechamber of hell yesterday, now famous for its graffiti gallery in the open air and its escalators.

In the 2000s, one name comes to the mouth of the inhabitants of Medellin, Sergio Fajardo, the mayor and his truly revolutionary urban development project to reintegrate "comunas", abandoned zones in public space. Comuna 13 is reborn and experiences a social transformation.

Colors and shapes paint the walls of houses. 90 graffitis are identified including a dozen made by Chota13. He found in graffiti a new definition of life. Self-taught, he began to draw in his notebooks at age 10 without being projected because the time at that time in the Comuna13 was counted. In 2008, he is part of a group with 10 other friends, but the adventure stops. Today, alone, Chota13 celebrates his Comuna13. He takes advantage of this new right by the freedom and the right to the alive, and by respect to the urban art.

The city is a canvas in which Chota13 expresses through art his deepest thoughts and constantly communicates the positive side of life with these multicolored women or jungle animals. The memory of times past is never far away. For Chota, 13 the graffiti artists have a responsibility with these "walls of attention". They tell the story and pay tribute.

After years of intense violence, aerosol cans have replaced guns. The respect is won not thanks to the fear but to the signature that the graffiti artists  leave in the walls. Chota13 leaves a mark to tell society that "I am here". It is a deep idea knowing that in this "no man's land" yesterday, companies come to work with this new generation of artists like Chota13 to promote their brands. Graffiti artists like him are the heroes or rather examples of these urban cultures between hip-hop, breakdance, DJ and Graffiti for the youth of the Comuna13. They encourage new opportunities, a new-look of the neighborhood, a new brand of the neighborhood, a pacification thanks to graffiti but as Chota13 says "we are decorating the city but we do not have institutional support, nor support for real opportunities"

Tomorrow will be another day, another wall like a scream to say "I'm here" ....

Séverine Grosjean is a journalist and art critic. Séverine graduated in Geography with a Masters in Political Sciences, Sociology and Communication. Séverine had exchanges at the Institute of Iberoamerica (Salamanca, Spain) in Communication and at the University of Lisbon (Portugal) in Communication and Contemporary Artistic Practices. She was the assistant of the Ecuadorian photoreporter, Pablo Corral Vega (Ecuador) and worked in “Ojos Propios” the Peruvian Association for participatory photography (Peru). Later, Séverine was the assistant of the Guatemalan gallerist Victor Martinez (Sol Del Rio) in Guatemala.

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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Femme au béret orange et au col de fourrure (Marie‐Thérèse), executed 4 December 1937. Oil on canvas. 24⅛ x 18⅛ in (61.2 x 46.1 cm)

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