In the streets of Lisbon, a new graffiti gang is placing its mark on the city. LATA65, also called the ‘graffiti grannies’, exclusively includes members with ages ranging from 59 to 90. The organization is inspiring senior citizens to become street artists by giving them the tools to do so – literally.
During two-day workshops, the seniors learn about the history of street art and the benefits of using a pseudonym when signing their artwork, “so the police don’t find you” Seixo Rodrigues says. They make their own designs and stencils, and finally, the seniors are then equipped with spray paint cans, masks and gloves, and of course, a wall to paint.
LATA65 derived from the Portuguese word for ‘can’, was started by architect Lara Seixo Rodrigues, who got help from 65 year old doctor and street artist Luísa Cortesão, and later from street artist Adrião Resende. The idea was born when Rodrigues organized a yearly street festival in her hometown covilha. There, she noticed that elderly showed a much stronger interest in street art as a medium than the younger generation did.
Their mission is to connect younger and older generations through street art, and doing so, to engage senior citizens in contemporary art. Since three years, workshops are given throughout Portugal and soon LATA65 will do the same in São Paulo, Brazil.
“The more I paint, the more I want to paint,” says 66-year-old Olinda Rodrigues. “I didn’t really like street art that much before this; I always thought it was just kids making a mess of the walls. But now I understand the history behind it and the way of thinking and I appreciate the artists more.”