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Philly Street Artists Takeover New Construction Wall at 40th and Chestnut

August 11, 2019

A new large construction wall went up last month at the intersection of 40th and Chestnut streets in West Philly, and not long after a group of Philly street artists began doing what they do with such spaces: filling it with art! Who knows if the owners of this building will be as good with allowing street art as say the folks at 5th and Bainbridge, for example, but one can hope!

Photographed above there’s wheatpastes from Doug Nox (aka Harleqvin,) Sean 9 Lugo, and Symone Salib. And photographed below we have an installation from Hysterical Men.

Hysterical Men’s series of wheatpastes include statements made by children in Customs and Border Protection “detention centers.” One of those quote wheatpastes reads: “I was given a blanket and a mattress but then at 3am the guards took the blanket and mattress. My baby was left sleeping on the floor. In fact, almost every night, the guards wake us at 3am and take away our sleeping mattresses and blankets. They leave babies, even little babies of two or three months, sleeping on the cold floor. For me, because I am so pregnant, sleeping on the floor is very painful for my back and hips. I think the guards act this way to punish us.” -17 year old girl, prisoner of the United States Government, 2019.

“I originally got the idea from an interview I heard with attorney Warren Binford, who sort of broke the story of how badly children were being treated in these camps,” Hysterical Men replied, when I texted her about this series. “She, along with a group of attorneys, were investigating the camps as part of a legal decision determining how children can be detained. The lawyers were shocked by what they saw and took statements from the children. I was in tears listening to her describe it. The interviewer asked, ‘what can people do?’ She had a great list… many things I was already doing. But, what really stuck with me was she said something to the effect of ‘these words should be everywhere.’ In other words, people need to be confronted with this reality. And I thought, I can do that.”

All of the quotes in the series are from this June 27, 2019 BuzzFeed News article by Claudia Koerner, called Kids Describe In Their Own Words The Dire Conditions Inside A Border Detention Center.

You can click any of the following photos to zoom in and read the rest of the quotes, or click the BuzzFeed News article to read more:

Photographed below, we have more wheatpastes from (in order of appearance) Kimi Tallant, Sixteen Cats, Gina Scamuffa, and Marisa Velázquez-Rivas!

P.s. If you’ve yet to, you can go back through this post and click on the names of each artist to see more of their work here on this blog and/or past interviews we’ve done with them!

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