Twenty six year old Eva Bracamontes is one of Mexico’s top female graffiti artists known for empowering women and championing discussions on social issues through art.
I met her while working on one of her latests projects with fellow street artist Ratoncio, a Dia de los Muertos kind of inspired mural in Mexico City’s historic center.
As we sat down for our interview on a crowded Regina street, Eva’s background explained why that traveling explorer’s attitude ran in her blood.
As a daughter of anthropologists, from an early age she was exposed to the mystical wonders of her home country’s ancestral roots, something she is proud to showcase in her internationally acclaimed designs.
With a bachelor’s and master’s in graphic design, art became a personal and therapeutic process for her which eventually, achieved a whole new level when she started painting large scale: it wasn’t only about her journey anymore but about the environment and the people she met along the way.
“One day I felt inspired to just buy a couple of paint sprays. I asked people for a wall and began painting”, Bracamontes said.
That happened about 5 years ago.
Since then, she has painted murals and taught children, youth and vulnerable communities to do the same in Mexico, Latin America, Europe and Africa.
“I have always been interested in the social, cultural and sometimes political role of women around the world because culturally in Mexico, here women are still in the process of learning that we are important, we have rights and there must be gender equality”, Bracamontes said.
Her work is well known for portraying women mostly with baby faces to make it, in a sense, timeless to anybody who admires it because, “I think when we are kids we are not heard”.
Empowerment is a by-product of her journey as a graphic designer and street artist.
She has worked with grassroots organizations, NGOs and street art festivals domestically and internationally to not only tell stories and reinterpret them but also, teach those whose voices are not heard that there is hope, there is more to live for.
“Many communities I visit have high rates of femicides and forced disappearances. Kids often dream of terrible things, some of them want to be drug traffickers when they grow up so, in a sense, going there to work with them is in part helping change their mindset and encourage them to think on other things. It’s good for them to see that art is a discipline, it can be a profession that allows them to express themselves and earn a living”, she said.
One of her most touching designs was a mural she painting of refugee families flying on top of quetzalcoatls, located in wall between Avenida Cuauhtémoc y Calle Esperanza, near Parque Delta in Mexico City.
It took her a month of interviews with migrants and refugees at different centers to understand their situation and she also sought psychological guidance to create a proposal that was sensitive to their reality.
“As an artist, one is not prepared to deal with these hard stories and it is important to know our limits. We paint but we are not superheroes, we are not going to save lives with a mural because people in vulnerable communities may have other present needs that need to be addressed. However, I do believe that just for the fact of creating art in these public spaces people can feel inspired to see there are other things out there”, Bracamontes said.
Last September, the young graffiti artist organized her first international festival called CIMU (known in Spanish as Festival Internacional de Artistas e Investigadoras del Arte Urbano).
The experience gathered 25 researchers, artists, documentary filmmakers and activists from Mexico and other countries to interact with each other during a week and create meaningful art projects that could be seen at the Arts and Design Faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
She recalls the festival as a good opportunity for women and men from various disciplines to exchange knowledge and connect through the power of art.
Looking forward, Eva will strive to become better at her work and hopefully, travel to Asia, particularly India, a country which she has felt can definitely represent a milestone in her growth as a person, woman and artist.
Her next CIMU festival will take place on September 2020.
If you want to learn more about her projects or donate resources to Eva’s work you can reach her at: evabracamontes01 [ at ] gmail.com
Photo credits: Eva Bracamontes Official Fanpage