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Graffiti in the time of Trump

It’s more impactful than political comments on Facebook. It means more than the “Feel the Bern” T-shirts, and the “Make America Great Again” baseball caps.

It’s street art. Art that is powerful enough to prevent drone strikes in Pakistan and bring attention to the plights of women in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas.

Aside from its aesthetic appeal, it has been used as a form of expression during times of political upheaval, for instance now, as Americans are forced to watch while the democratic process turns into a circus.

Lately, more Donald Trump-themed art has sprung up around campus. “Il Douche,” can be spotted at the intersection of University Avenue and Oregon Street, and it depicts Trump in a Nazi uniform. While some may call this vandalism, I call it necessary. The fact that some of it is illegal makes it more important.

This act of defiance takes a message and drops it straight into a community, in this case a community that may need to pay more attention. In other cities throughout the world, those who pay attention to the alley ways, stoplights, windowpanes, bike racks, street signs, staircases and water towers see political statements.

The infrastructure is turned into a canvas. During a recent trip to New York City, it was impossible to walk down any street without bumping into wheat-pasted posters depicting Trump as Ronald McDonald, or “Black Lives Matter” stickers covering lampposts.

El Paso doesn’t lack in street art. Take a stroll through Segundo Barrio and you’ll find commemorations of Chicano history and culture everywhere. But it seems like El Pasoans have become too comfortable. Where are the anti-Hillary, Sanders or Cruz posters? Where’s the art that turns Trump into a poop emoji (Google it)? If anyone in El Paso is angry or has something to say about our current political situation, I’d like to see it in the form of street art, not just in galleries.

If you need inspiration, check out the Street Art Google Art Project, which takes you on a virtual tour of street art throughout the world while a narrator tells you about the artist and how the piece has impacted the neighborhood it is located in.

Projects like this prove that street art has the potential to strengthen neighborhoods and bring communities together. That’s what we desperately need in El Paso.

Jasmine Aguilera may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Jasmine Aguilera, Editor-in-chief
Jasmine is a senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in anthropology. She began practicing journalism as a high school student when she joined the Tejano Tribune, El Paso Community College’s student newspaper. During her senior year she became the first ever high school student to become editor-in-chief of the Tribune. She moved on to join The Prospector team in the fall of 2011. Jasmine has covered national politics, immigration, poverty, human trafficking, refugees and more in her time holding various editorial positions at The Prospector and as an intern reporter at the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire and Gannett News Service, both in Washington, D.C. She aspires to become an international reporter and tell stories that do not receive the attention they deserve. Until then, she spends her time following the news and guiding a very talented team in reporting for a student audience and the El Paso community. She also enjoys a good book, art, music and the occasional Netflix binge (House of Cards and Breaking Bad remain her favorite).
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Graffiti in the time of Trump