If These Walls Could Talk…
Well, in Athens they do. I just can’t understand them yet!
Graffiti is hugely prevalent here in Athens, which was surprising and very interesting to me when I arrived. I had never seen so much graffiti lining every inch of a neighborhood, even in New York City! However, Greeks have a very different outlook on graffiti than Americans do. While in the States, graffiti is often looked at as a sign of delinquency, here it is a form of art and illustrates the voices of the people. The concept is as old as the city itself, the ancient peoples would carve their graffiti into the walls.
Ancient civilization had the same outlook as modern Greeks: they could use graffiti to talk to the passersby.
Many ancient inscriptions that denote a particular site, directly address their readers. For example, an inscription found on the boundary stone in the Ancient Agora reads, “I am the boundary of the Agora.” It is as if the stone itself is speaking to the reader. I only wish I could read Greek so that I could take part in this living conversation!
Because of the powerful voice, and presence that street art has in Athens, I’ve been capturing as much of it as I can on camera.
There are also many instances of artwork, where the artists create a well-executed picture or scene, rather than just tagging words in graffiti. Some notable artists are INO, LOAF, Pavlos Tsakonas, and Dreyk the Pirate. I was quickly captured by these pieces. The talent of the artists is obvious as these pieces show a style that seems too impressive to be limited to walls and alleyways.
“The street is the best gallery anyone’s art can be displayed at. Free for everyone 24/7.” -LOAF (LOve Against Fear)