Street Art: When brick made roadside walls became the voice of the masses
During the end of the year 2017, some graffiti painted on the road's sidewalls in Dhaka received a good public response. That graffiti was a 'Subodh' named character-centered. Some words were written on it with a crazy man's picture, making the audience think a lot later. Anyone would be compelled to feel when they see such philosophical genres on the side of a busy road. Some lines of them were, 'Subodh, you run away, there is nothing in your destiny' or 'Subodh, you run away, time is not in your favor.' The question is 'Who painted this graffiti?' – but there were some conspiracy theories about it at that time.
The idea of ' Graffiti' or 'Street Art' is not new in Bangladesh. Graffiti has been painted on different cities' walls for a long time, but these were mostly by political parties. Graffiti is regularly painted on the walls of various buildings inside the campuses of different public universities by active student organizations. The walls visible to countless people and walls at the city's busy streets are considered suitable for graffiti painting.
One thing needs to be clarified at first. It would be wrong to think that only graffiti is street art. Posters, colorful murals, or sculptures are also on the list of street art. But graffiti is the most influential street art and will always be at the forefront. Graffiti has become a holder of political or socio-economic realities.
Another point is that graffiti has played a leading role in twisting the notion that art is a place of luxury for the aristocracy or creative work in the rich's hands and away from the common man. Some people want to draw a line between graffiti and street art when getting permission from the authorities or giving a message to the audience. Graffiti is not outside of street art, but street art's scope is not limited to graffiti; it's much bigger than that.
In modern times, after WWII, in the seventies and eighties, street art's journey began as a movement in America. But even before this, many have proved its existence in many ways. Even in many ancient civilizations, a few street arts can be seen. In ancient Rome and during the Pharaohs of Egypt, various paintings were painted on the walls. In modern times, the seventies (70s) time is the beginning of street art, but graffiti was seen in Paris in the thirties, according to a journalist.
In New York, USA, street art began with American artists' drawing on the subway's sidewalls. Keith Harring is one of the most enterprising and talented graffiti artists of the early days. That is why he has been in a lot of trouble. Police have arrested him several times, but the magic of graffiti has never let him go. In modern times, the street art movement is not just confined to America. It has spread all over the world.
Through graffiti, artists always speak as representatives of the ordinary people. In many countries, the government-controlled media often fails to cover the underprivileged. In this case, ordinary people are usually neglected in the policies adopted by the government. Graffiti artists use graffiti as a weapon to make the general public aware of government discrimination. Graffiti's suggestive message gives ordinary people an idea of what they should do, and the power-hungry ruling class is warned about its own mistakes.
We all know about the massive role that social media played in the Arab Spring. There was a huge role in social media like Facebook or Twitter in the Arab Spring and all the movements and struggles that have taken place in the world since 2010. But before these, social media could reach everyone, graffiti all over the world worked to awaken the common man. Facebook or Twitter is not a recent event, but human struggles have been going on globally for a long time.
Graffiti or murals have played a significant role in inspiring people in all movements since the seventies to make them aware of their responsibilities. Street artists weren't even sitting during the Arab Spring. Graffiti on the walls of various cities in turbulent countries after the Arab Spring still carries the message that the struggle for democracy is not over.
Banksy is a legend in the world of street art. Banksy is a pseudonym. No one actually knows the real name of the person known as 'Banksy.' No one has ever seen him, or even if they have seen him, no one has recognized him, he is the famous 'Banksy.' Born in England, this man is the most talented graffiti artist in the world today, who has revolutionized the world of street art. Ninety percent of the graffiti artists in the world do not get any exchange price for their work. No one speaks loudly about them because they are in hiding. They always must be behind the front lights. But there, Banksy's graffiti is sold for millions of dollars at various exhibitions. The wall on which Banksy shows his talent; its value increases a hundredfold.
Graffiti is not just a question of political, social, or economic issues. They were often made against the cruel customs that have been passed down in society for years. It's quite challenging to get someone like graffiti artists who question society's traditions in a satirical manner. In a community where most people can hold on to a cruel practice, they can even continue to support injustice as a group. Graffiti artists attack them in a unique language.
The language of street art is an important factor. Graffiti is not usually written in straightforward language. Graffiti artists try to write in a way that ordinary people can grasp the hidden message. It is not written in such a difficult language that ordinary people cannot get graffiti's message even after hundreds of attempts. All in all, graffiti artists must be tactful.
From an aesthetic point of view, graffiti or street art is an entirely successful project. When the black-and-white walls are transformed into a colorful spray-can, it becomes a real sight to watch. These colorful walls also attract tourists. As the walls come alive with the talent of graffiti artists, the city becomes more colorful.
Every street art emanates from a new sense of life. Each graffiti highlights various contemporary crises and problems. Over time, the old graffiti has been replaced by new graffiti. One of the main ways to look at the past times in the sense of the present is to look at the street art of the past. The way street art has become a representative of the common man around the world. It continues to question the injustices of the ruling class, further widens our optimistic eyes' horizons.