If Graffiti Changed Anything – It Would Be Made Illegal

25 May

A Palestinian boy looks at one of six new images painted by British street artist Banksy as part of a Christmas exhibition in the West Bank town of Bethlehem

The supporters of George Davis who have been campaigning to proclaim his innocence since the seventies can breathe a sigh of relief.

Davis has had a robbery conviction overturned; much to the delight of those who spread graffiti across British roads with the words “George Davis is guilty, OK”.

The phrase isn’t the only piece of graffiti ingrained in peoples minds. My mum recalls the train bridge on the way into Durham saying, “Turn back, there’s no jobs here”, during the miners strike. The power of those words, the emotion behind the strike and the poignancy of Durham Cathedral in the background create the memory stemming from what some describe as ‘vandalism’.

Graffiti has been used countless times in protest. Barbaric pro-hunting supporters stamped on the countryside with their dirty boots and painted a rider in full hunt regalia on a white horse at Kilburn in North Yorkshire, which dates from 1837.

Bands such as the Stone Roses have used graffiti to gain attention. They spray painted their name every 50 yards on the road between Didsbury and Manchester city centre. It’s now hard to believe they had to go to such measures to gain local fame.

Graffiti such as the words written on Durham railway bridge express what so many were feeling at the time, and in that sense, are truly a work of artistic protest.
Then again, as Banksy’s rat painting proclaims: “If graffiti changed anything, it would be made illegal.”

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2 Responses to “If Graffiti Changed Anything – It Would Be Made Illegal”

  1. Graham Snuggs May 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    ….my all-time favourite piece of grafitti was sprayed onto 3 consecutive pillars holding the M4 motorway over the A4 on the way into West London; it said “Good. Morning. Lemmings” :–)

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