For those who live in Boston (or who have driven down Atlantic Avenue), you have seen the newest artistic addition to our city. In a successful attempt to embrace Boston’s creativity, Os Gêmeos were hired to create this phenomenal mural.
“Os Gêmeos” is Portuguese for “The Twins” who consist of Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo of São Paulo, Brasil. It’s pronounced: Os Jeh-mee-yos. You will probably still say it wrong but you did your best.
There have been a lot of questions about their art and many assumptions on their story. While I am not a representative, nor do I have complete knowledge of their work, I have acquired some info over the years. Recently, someone asked me if their mural was of a Middle Eastern man. Trying not to allow fumes from escaping my ears, I explained that this was inaccurate. Their characters usually have no race and like most art, it’s up to you to see what you want to see. The skin of the characters are yellow because it is how they envision these characters in their dreams. Specifically in the Boston mural, the man’s face is covered because it is a representation of how most street artists do their work, by covering their faces with an old shirt as to not inhale the fumes.
I wrote so much about these guys on my last blog (before I deleted it) and really admire their amazing work around the world. They started from the bottom and turned something that some considered “vandalism” into a visual culture lesson. In the ’80s, the two identical brothers started as graffiti artists after embracing the New York culture of Hip Hop and street art. And without much money or the resources to even create street art, they used household and car paint for most of their creations. In many beginning works, they paid homage to the street artists, such as Iz the Wiz, by tagging their names within the murals.
Many of their pieces have cultural representation and a whole lot of meaning. You’ll notice that their works are filled with vibrant colors. They say it’s a representation of Brasil – a very colorful and lively country. Much of our culture is represented in their pieces through the mixture of fantasy and reality.
They are currently Boston for their first US Museum exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Friday was the Opening/Brazilian Street Party and I must admit, I had such a great time! The DJ (Roger Dee from Brasil) was amazing! I found myself dancing samba and shaking my bunda to funk.
However, the caipirinhas and Brazilian snacks were not accurate representations of our nation’s amazing alcohol and food… but I guess it’s the thought that counts. Oh, did I mention I am Brazilian?
Funny story: After being at the event for a little while, I noticed the brothers and walked over to say hello and welcome! They were mingling and going unnoticed by most guests so you could see they felt comfortable. Upon introducing myself, I said in English, “Welcome to Boston! Thank you so much for your contribution to our city. You have no clue how much this means to us.” Then in Portuguese I said, “Sorry I just said all that in English. I’m American but my parents are Brazilian so my Portuguese is not perfect.” To which they responded, “What?! You speak well as sh*t!”