Untonga, whose real name is Gastón Rosa, lives in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he “wallpapers” the city with his epitaphs and phrases written in public spaces. His compositions tend to be simple words framed in a particular way: a pink semicircle, three flowers, and a message, a combination resulting in his characteristic “pink gravestones.” This motif has been ever-present in his career, and using this visual style, he attempts to convey the values of diversity, respect for others, and inclusion.

The gravestone shapes seem almost infantile with their hastily rendered simplicity, however, behind this style of drawing, some deep truths are revealed. Untonga’s use of satire allows us to contemplate a “pink” death, which, according to the artist, does not contradict our typical notions of death, but helps us understand life and death in a different way.

However, in this case, to the artist death is not just a physical unraveling, death occurs with any crisis. His pieces tend to speak of broken relationships, job losses, or life projects that are truncated and for which we must mourn and turn the page. Through these thoughtful reminders on city walls, his goal is to help us put things into perspective and move ahead with optimism.

He usually paints the gravestones on kraft paper and sticks them up at night, all of them are unique and all are made by hand. There are also variations with graffiti and various phrases written with marker on shop’s windows.

Untonga draws up different phrases that can brush the poetic, like: “when you were gone I ate what you left, I lay down on your bed, I thought about opening a drawer, I listened to your music, I missed you, I wrote you this”; or depicting day to day activities with apparent simplicity with: “what happens to the neighbor, happens to you” and “if you feel like dancing, then you’re home.” His phrases generate hope and although we know that not everything is always positive, we can embrace the idea that in hard moments empathy can save us.

Untonga’s artistic possibilities are limitless and he continuously shares more of his pink gravestones on his Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/untonga___/