Graffiti Architecture Thesis

Sanctions imposed on the country have made many of the tools needed for other art forms luxury items that few could procure or afford.However, erasers, markers—especially concentrated but fluid watercolours to fill backgrounds and letters—are more accessible and easy to use on cheap canvases such as city walls.Zimbabwe’s history of colonization informs what appears on the walls ‘tagged’ by young artists.

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When a city provides graffiti walls for its citizens, isn’t it simply extending its hegemony?

When I found stencilled graffiti in my neighbourhood and discovered that it was disguised corporate advertising, I dismissed it as worthless.

“Street art”, graffiti’s more formal cousin, which is often commissioned and sanctioned, has a firmer place in communities, but can still be an important form of “outsider” expression.

Interest in these art forms as social expression is broad, and the work itself takes many shapes—from simple tags of identity, to scrawled expressions of protest and politics, to complex and beautiful scenes that virtually everyone would say are “art”, despite their sometimes rough locations. Can they be nurtured without undermining their essentially outsider qualities?

But institutions also love it, and Drew, like Banksy, has been exhibited in galleries.

Street art that is sanctioned as a way to ameliorate dull façades is effectively assimilated as city property; it can no longer be about the conflict of ownership. Adelaide’s previous Lord Mayor, Stephen Yarwood, saw street art as a game-changer for the 21st century city, consigning blank walls to the past.

Starting in 1932, by 1967 Arthur Stace had chalked out his one-word message half a million times and entered the realm of legend. “Worthless” graffiti can become a commodity, its value transformed by a simple shift in view.

Graffiti highlights one of society’s contradictions when protest is transmuted into product and neutered. Capitalism’s ability to assimilate ideas that threaten it is unsurpassed.

In many cities, graffiti is associated with decay, with communities out of control, and so it is outlawed.

In some cities, it is legal, within limits, and valued as a form of social expression.


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