Sunday, June 13, 2010

Grandmother of Graffiti..

A few weeks back I got an interesting email from Dvate asking if I would like to partake in a memorial wall - The Grandmother of Graffiti. It was a great day of painting with writers as well as some of the Grandmother of Graffiti's relatives.

Here is some history on the Grandmother of Graffiti written by her Granddaughter Judy:

Olga Sahagian and her Husband Nubar Sahagian arrived in the U.S.A in the 1960’s settling in the Bronx. She was born in Egypt and was the youngest of 6. Olga and her brother Jairair were the only 2 to settle in the U.S.A. Olga’s other 3 brothers Derick, Paul, Gerard settled in Australia and her sister Mary settled in England.

The Bronx was a rough place in the 60’s and 70’s. Olga Sahagian was the mother of the neighbourhood. She used to cook for all the kids and make sure they were safe. It didn’t matter to Olga whether the children were hers or not. In Olga’s eyes they were all 'her children' and needed to be looked after. We had the only house on our block 2680 Morris Ave. Bronx N.Y. 10468 where kids used to play games. We used to throw jams where the kids would play the guitar and drums and everyone would gather around our house to listen to the music. As tough as our neighbourhood was it was also filled with brotherhood and family.

My grandmother used to buy the children markers and paint supplies in order to keep them safe. Little did she know that those same kids would perfect their names on canvas only to transfer them on the subways. Wildstyle, was born - Modern graffiti was born! Break dancing was everywhere and a culture was born! I was very young but I can remember great people who influenced my life and gave me the tools I needed to navigate and thrive in Kingsbridge. I remember Jimmy Ha Ha and Com161 RIP used to show me cool tricks when I was only 3 or 4
years old. Tracy168, the iconic instigator of wildstyle, was a huge figure in my life when it came to graffiti and art.

My grandmother went on to raise 3 more generations supplying that same safety and refuge that she was known and loved for. She was respected and loved by all. Olga Sahagian Passed away last year at age 79. I felt compelled to do something to honor a woman who has influenced so many lives, so I came to Australia to meet my family who my grandma spoke so much about. Since arriving in Australia I have met so many wonderful people who love my story and want to do something about it.

Therefore, this is my proposal: I have a group of wonderful graffiti writers who are willing to do a mural here in Melbourne and I have my Uncle Tracy168 who will do the same mural in The Bronx on the house we grew up in. I will document everything on both sides and build a
website where people can go to see the work of great artists in honour of a great woman.

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