Vandalina: Ankara’s new street art collective
Emrah Güler ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Vandalina, a fresh street art collective initiated by a small group of friends in Ankara, hopes to raise awareness of social issues through the use of alternative media, stickers and posters being the initial choice.
If you are a subway commuter in Ankara, you might have encountered stickers placed haphazardly in the trains, over the glass doors, and across the stations. They are not bright in color. In fact, most of them are black and white, with occasional red splattered on.
What is striking is the messages screamed through these stickers. Below a giant, red 5 is written, “Five women are killed each day in this country” over one of the stickers. On another one with the same hair-raising statistic, “Your mother, your sister, your daughter, your lover, your friend,” is written in a blurry font.
There are over 10 variations of these stickers with the same message directing the attention of the passer-by to the increasing number of women’s murders. “Research shows that women’s murders have increased 1,400 percent in seven years,” one of the members of Vandalina, the street art collective responsible for this sticky show across the capital city, told the Hürriyet Daily News.
Vandalina, a fresh street art collective initiated by a small group of friends in Ankara, hopes to raise awareness of social issues through the use of alternative media, stickers and posters being the initial choice. The name is a play on the Turkish word for tangerine, mandalina. “We actually wanted to be connected to the idea of vandalism when selecting our name,” said the member, the “Vandalinist.”
Women’s murders remembered on streets
What exactly do they do? And how does the process, from deciding on the social issue to adorning the city with stickers, exactly work? Vandalina decides on a social issue to work on each month. They are the “obvious social problems that anyone would list without a breath, from violence against women and women’s murders to inequality in income distribution and job security.”
The first issue was the women’s murders due to the alarming rate of increase in recent years and the general nonchalant attitude toward it. “Violence against women is still a non-issue as far as many people are concerned,” said the Vandalinist. “Each day we read about violence against women, murders, abuse and rape in the media. It is a dire social problem.”
After the team sets the issue, collaboration begins. “While we start creating our own designs, we ask everyone through social media to contribute with their own ideas and designs as well,” said the Vandalinist. “Those who don’t feel confident in sending designs send us their ideas. We select the ones that give the message clearly and powerfully. We also make sure that the final products are not aggressive or disturbing.”
Then comes the adrenaline-inducing part. The team scatters around subway stations, public places, each carrying around 200 stickers. Since Vandalina shares the stickers for easy download through social media, “everyone is welcome to print their own stickers and stick them across public places of their choice, taking the project outsides the confines of Ankara.”
You can be a part of Vandalina
Everyone is welcome to become part of Vandalina. “One of the crucial premises behind Vandalina is that it invites everyone to be part of the collective,” said the Vandalinist. “Because the main idea is to raise awareness of social problems among as many people as possible, the better the more people are involved. Everyone can easily reach our sticker sets through the web and the social media. They can download, cut and later place them wherever they want, and thus become a part of Vandalina.” If messages are the soul of the project, social media is its life. “One of the opportunities, maybe the biggest one, the Internet presents is its power in connecting people from different backgrounds and cultures, and providing a chance for them to share their ideas,” said the Vandalinist. “We are hoping to use these platforms to reach people who care about the same problems and who have the same sensibilities, but who come from different backgrounds.” Send Vandalina your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on Twitter at @Vandalinatr, and become part of a street art.