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Graffiti Art and History
Graffiti has existed since the prehistoric times when men painted the caves.
Since those times graffiti has been a way of visual communication about social or political themes.
For some people, graffiti is considered an art, but others consider it vandalism and for this reason, we can see nowadays, murals with non permanent paintings. Sometimes artists compete about how much time will last their messages on the wall.
Graffiti is often related to underground hip hop music and b-boying creating a lifestyle that remains hidden from the general public and is often associated with gangs marking their territory.
The most notorious examples of political graffiti are the Berlin Wall, the West Bank Barrier and Northern Ireland murals, but we can see others all over the world expressing most of the times an underground culture.
One of the most famous graffiti artists is Banksy that remains unknown and uses graffiti as a way to communicate his political and anti-war ideas. His works can be found most of the times in Bristol, England, but he has worked in other countries all around the world, as the West Bank Barrier.
Street art can be a very strong way of activism and subversion while being very easy to reach the public. It was through graffity that a pair of writers from the Bronx become famous back in the 1970’s.
Painting is a way of communication ever since
Paleoanthropologist and rock art researcher Genevieve von Petzinger suggest that graphic communication, and the ability to preserve and transmit messages may be much older than we think.
with Portuguese subtitles
The History of Foo Was Here GraffitiClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Foo was here | The Bucket
Perhaps his name derived from the British and Australian military acronyms for Forward Observation Officer, or FUBAR (F***** Up Beyond All Repair).
- Frequently Asked Questions: Foo was here
In WW1 Foo was a mythical and mysterious little "man" who turned up nearly everywhere (especially where there was a bit of nonsense going on).
The Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) separated the city of Berlin in Germany from 1961 to 1989. Many people thought it was a symbol of the Cold War. The Berlin Wall was taken down on November 9, 1989. The Berlin Wall was about 168 km (104 miles) long.
Moments in History - The Fall of the Berlin Wall
A view of life in Berlin, before, during and after the Wall fell
Northern Ireland Murals
Northern Ireland contains around 2,000 political murals since the 1970s and they aren't from one political side only. But there aren't only political themes, they also have religious, mythological and sports ones.
I selected some murals but you can see much more on Wikipedia.
West Bank barrierClick thumbnail to view full-size
West Bank barrier
The naming of the barrier is controversial. Israelis, most commonly refer to the barrier as the "separation (hafrada) fence"and "security fence" or "anti-terrorist fence"
Palestinians, most commonly refer to the barrier as racial segregation wall and some opponents of the barrier refer to it as the "Apartheid Wall."
The International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion on the barrier, wrote it had chosen to use the term "wall" "the other expressions sometimes employed are no more accurate if understood in the physical sense."
The BBC's style guide for journalists states "The BBC uses the terms barrier, separation barrier or West Bank barrier as acceptable generic descriptions to avoid the political connotations of "security fence" (preferred by the Israeli government) or "apartheid wall" (preferred by the Palestinians)."
Fabulous Picture Show - West Bank Story
A movie directed by Banksy, who also appears as an actor
If you never watched the movie "Exit Through the Gift Shop" I do recommend it!
The story is about how an eccentric Frenchman, living in L.A., trying to befriend Banksy with the collaboration of some of the well-known world graffiters.
The movie is directed by Bansky himself, who also appears during the scenes.
Academy nominee for Best Documentary Feature, USA, 2011
From the Bronx to Netflix
- Meet the legendary Bronx graffiti artists who inspired "The Get Down" | New York Post
Two of the most prolific graffiti writers of the time, worked their way into the alternative New York art scene of the 1970s and 1980s
- Graffiti Creator
Write your name in graffiti
Blank walls are a shared canvas and we're all artists— Carla H. Krueger
- Art Crimes: Best Graffiti Sites
Graffiti art links to the best sites devoted to modern graffiti art.
- The Murals of Lyon (France) | CITÉCRÉATION - World leader in mural painting and street art
" Walls are the skin of the residents "
- Underground Paris - Street art, graffiti & culture
Paris street art and graffiti documentary project, offering tours, art workshops, and artist commissions.
- 10 Female Street Artists | WideWalls
These ten girls, in our opinion, are pushing the boundaries of urban art at the moment. Working in diverse styles and media, some of them consciously advocate feminine element in street art, while others go beyond gender.