Painting Peace and Prosperity: Street Art, the Geração Foun, and Identifying with an Evolving ‘East Timorese-ness’

  • Catherine E. ArthurEmail author
Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)


Building on an analysis of the symbolic representation of an evolving nationalism at the level of the political elite, this chapter explores how the reconceptualised struggle is visually represented at a grassroots level through street art. Street art is a primary medium of expression for the Geração Foun (the ‘new generation’), a younger generation of East Timorese who have been culturally and politically alienated from nation-building. This marginalisation is largely because their cultural-linguistic and educational backgrounds differ significantly to that of the older generation, to which the state’s leadership belongs. The chapter examines representations of the redefined struggle, peace, and unity as tropes of nationalist narratives. Applying theories of youth subcultures, it examines how the generation gap—one of the most pervasive social divisions of the post-independence state—is negotiated by the Geração Foun. It outlines the inherent tension of subcultures that is present in East Timorese street art: the desire to identify with the dominant culture in order to legitimise their claims to membership of the nation, and the need to critique the shortcomings of the older generation and make their voices heard.


Timor-Leste Street art Geração Foun Youth subcultures Peace Generational politics 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

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