Graffiti is one of the fundamental elements of hip-hop, identified as a way to challenge the social norms of society and a way to express personal beliefs through the use of art. It’s often associated with the rebellious attitude of youth culture and one’s creative prowess. However, a group of grandparents in Lisbon, Portugal are taking up the spray paint cans and writing their graffiti pseudonyms on the wall, proving that age ain’t nothing but a number.
LATA 65 Lisbon, coined as the graffiti grandparents or “graffiti grannies” are eliminating boundaries and proving that graffiti is not just a youth driven activity but for people from all walks of life. The organization is specifically geared towards elderly people, from ages 59 to 90, who take an interest in urban art, particularly graffiti and tagging, and guide them in creating their own masterpiece on the wall. Founded by 36-year-old architect Lara Seixo Rodrigues in 2012 along with the help of street artist Adrião Resende and retired 65-year-old doctor turned graffiti artist Luísa Cortesão. The program started as a one-time workshop but became widely popular after it picked up a surprisingly large audience during a street festival that Seixo Rodrigues organized in her hometown of Covilha. The two-day workshop is broken down into four sessions. It begins with a brief history of graffiti, then gradually participants learn stencil making, moving on to tagging style, and creating murals in public spaces.
The workshop is now expanding internationally. After three years of success in Portugal, it has now launched a workshop in Brazil. “The purpose of the workshop is to make a completely new activity that is quite unusual for their ages,” says Seixo Rodrigues to Daily Mail. LATA 65 is breaking the nonchalant visage of the elderly, giving them a new hobby and taking participants out and about on the streets, bringing life to bland, empty walls with their newly found passion. Who knows, with LATA 65 expanding worldwide, you my one day come to learn that your grandparents are the next Banksy.