Street Art has a long history of engagement with social and political issues. The art form has often used its placement within the public sphere as a means to bring awareness to inequality and totalitarianism power structures. It is then no surprise that many works responding to the COVID-19 crisis are pieces of protest, calling out governmental regimes that are seen to have been lacking in the way they responded to the global health threat.
Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump is a key subject, who has satirically been portrayed as the virus and in many other unflattering guises. Boris Johnson has been depicted in artworks across the UK. Also under artistic fire, is Chilean president Sebastián Piñera, protests have been rife across the country and were originally triggered by a rise in the metro fare in the capital, Santiago, but soon became a much wider movement denouncing inequality in Chile, the high costs of healthcare and poor funding of education.
Óscar Núñez has been at the forefront of the protests since they first started. A graphic designer, he decided to use his experience to make street art under the name of Mr Owl. He says that the street art offers a non-violent way of creating a dialogue between him and others. “I started using the image of a military officer in a peaceful yoga pose. It’s ironic and fresh but my favourite part is that other graffiti artists have put their own touches to that image.” Explaining that people would paint the eyes red in a reference to the hundreds of protesters who have been blinded by projectiles shot by police.
Scroll through for some of our favourite political street art pieces, which draw attention to the unfavourable powers that be…