Konan, one of Almaty's oldest graffiti artists, painting in the city square during the festival

In September 2008, artists James Reitano and Daniel Gallegos, and filmmaker Davon Ramos traveled to Kazakhstan to work with local artists to paint and document a graffiti arts festival. Sponsored by the U.S. embassy, in collaboration with the Tengri Umai Gallery, the project involved over twenty graffiti and hip hop artists. The week of collaboration between US and Kazakh artists culminated in a music and graffiti festival in the city center open to all citizens of Almaty.

Video by Davon Ramos

Almatenski graffiti writers

Photo by Nail Mukumzhanov

The graffiti art festival in Almaty
Photo by Kuanysh Bazargaliyev

After the festival, James, Daniel, and Davon flew to Shymkent, Kazakhstan to teach the fundamentals of graffiti at a local art school.  We showed the students how to design basic graffiti structures, and from there, how to paint and create finished graffiti art. 

An art school student in Shymkent, Kazakhstan

James and Daniel show the art students how to create the basic elements of a graffiti mural.

Finally, through the The Legal Center for Women's Initiatives, a local NGO, we went to visit an orphanage in Shymkent. We walked the children through the principals of graffiti art using a roll of white paper, pencils, ink pens, and crayons.  Afterwards the children worked on their own drawings with the "Diplomats."

Drawing instruction at an orphanage in Shymkent

Learning the basics of graffiti art

1 of 1

In September 2008, we collaborated with Tengri Umai, the first independent gallery in Almaty, Kazakhstan. We participated in and documented a graffiti arts festival. The project involved over twenty graffiti and hip hop artists. Another part of the project was to interact with the children in an orphanage in Shymkent, Kazakhstan, by using graffiti art. 

Articles and Links