Grrlz Gettin Ova: Miss 163

By - Monday, June 17th, 2013

Sharon De La Cruz—or Miss 163, uno seis tres, or one six three—is a graffiti artist from the Bronx who is credited with forming the Maripussy Crew, an all-girl graffiti collective based out of Lima, Peru. A Fulbright scholar, Miss 163 has taken a feminist stance to women in graffiti since her research abroad in Peru. Keeping it old school, Miss 163 got her name from 163rd street in the Bronx, where she grew up. For Sharon, art and activism are intertwined from the get-go. The Maripussy Crew was formed in Lima when 163 got together with five other street artists—Mishap, Bronik, Perez, Monica MIros, and Birack—as well as one rapper, Blue. The crew came up with the name Maripussy after chuckling about the word 163’s mother used to refer to vaginas: mariposas, Spanish for butterflies. The girls thought this would be the perfect name for their crew once they gave it a little oomph, changing it to Maripussy. Miss 163 is a woman involved with a little bit of everything, from activism to art, from scholarship to Hip Hop. With a BFA from Cooper Union, she is a coordinator of program for female empowerment, WOMEN (Where Our Minds Empower Needs), at The Point in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx. Her recent projects include “Wild Thing,” an exhibition of artwork at bOb Bar NYC examining the role of the black female child in our society through the eyes of Ruby Bridges, the first black student to attend an all-white elementary school in 1960. The story is told in the exhibition through Max from Where The Wild Things Are, and attests to the use of the black female child as a sociopolitical tool to instigate social change. She also works with Calvin Klein’s CK One Street Edition, which drew influence from her art and asked her to design the packaging for their cosmetics.

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