West Oakland’s de Fremery Park last Saturday was a hive of activism, community, and art with the occurrence of the 6th Annual Estria Battle Festival the premier graffiti art competition in the United States and the culmination of the Prism Festival that was taking place across the San Francisco Bay for the past two weeks. Prism Festival engaged with social justice concerns through visual art, music, dance, symposia and sustainable culture practices “in an effort to emphasize live art projects and arts programming for the community.” Composed of sixteen artists all vying for first or second place creating an artwork utilizing the word “DREAM,” which is only announced on the day of the competition, and panel of judges Doze Green, Risk and Codak, The Battle provided Oakland’s street art enthusiasts with an exciting opportunity to see and engage with some of the most talented contemporary public artists. To many, it has become an essential Bay Area event that is core to both the art scene and to the youth and community groups who are involved.
Here is a gallery of the finished murals (further below is a gallery of photos of the day) — Congratulations to this year’s Estria Battle winner, Vyal, and second place winner, Dytch66!
Also taking place that day was a “Youth Mural Battle”: A live painting and visual storytelling competition featuring prominent young visual arts organizations from the Bay Area, Southern California, and Arizona. Contestant teams use mixed media of acrylic paints, markers and spray paint to develop murals addressing a given topic. Winning canvases will be displayed at the Oakland Public Library’s “Teen Zones” where free urban arts workshops will be held for youth through March 2014. Congratulations to the winner, Every Day Ritual!
The Estria Battle, created in 2007 by globally renowned muralist Estria Miyashiro and arts educator Jason Mateo with support from Youth Speaks, Inc. “The Estria Battle encourages graffiti writers to visually articulate social justice issues by empowering communities with the spirit and beauty of public art. These events aim to elevate street art through community building, public education, and engagement.” The Battle has traveled to Harlem, Brooklyn, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Oakland. Major hip-hop performers and celebrities have graced its stage including Mos Def, The Coup, Goapele, Questlove, Pharoahe Monch and Talib Kweli.