Oi You! São Paulo Twins Os Gemeos Unveil In Cockatoo Island’s Exhibit

By Courtney Lochner

Os Gemeos or “The Twins” from São Paulo continue to trek about the world bringing their graffiti art to the masses from large scale building makeovers to intimate museum exhibits – their latest tour stop: Cockatoo Island’s “Oi You” exhibit.

These twins were destined for art. Very early on they began writing their names with latex rollers to experiment with different textures, colors and sizes. But it wasn’t until they first saw graffiti that they felt their true destiny calling. This was it. Large scale. Bright colors. A canvas for the world to see. From there, the streets of São Paulo would never be the same but in truth, their graffiti art was far too talented to go unnoticed. Their graffiti led to full-scale exhibitions in major museums.

Much more than just graffiti, Os Gemeos create exhibitions from human-like heads hanging from the ceiling that allow you to enter within. In an installation at their Vertigem exhibit in Rio de Janeiro, guests can enter a human’s mind so-to-speak, inside of which they’ll find thousands of different mirrors and dreamlike lighting. Guests can enter homes, watch TV, study the walls, the photos and for a moment, live in a make-believe world, created by Os Gemeos and see how it makes them feel.

As for Os Gemeos, they were inspired by hip-hop, their dreams and living in a country of extremes. Seeing poverty and beggars everyday who were walking about with smiles, led to much of their starting boards. The evidence is there when you make eye contact with a person in their artwork – which once you see, you’ll identify forever. Their style is so original, so fresh and so honest, their characters are able to jump off the building, canvas or installation to interact with you.

According to the twins, “A long time has passed since we started painting and we have always been searching to portray our own culture in Brazil. We have a rich culture with lots of folklore…we’ve seen a lot of things, experimented…but for us being Brazilian speaks louder. If we have that, why follow any rules?”

With exhibits in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Brasilia, their building scales can also be found around the world. But for now, it’s all about the “Oi You” exhibit in Cockatoo Island that runs through October 24 as a part of the city’s Rugby World Cup celebrations. The exhibit will feature contest entries in a search for new urban artists as well as rare pieces from other global names in urban art such as Banksy, Faile, Micallef and Swoon.

Can’t make it to Cockatoo Island any time soon? Shop for funky pieces online. And as for Os Gemeos, keep your eyes peeled, they just may paint a building in your ‘hood soon.