Article: Graffiti: the written voice of the oppressed?

Graffiti in Kings Cross

Graffiti in Kings Cross

Graffiti, it has often been a part of Sydney Streets, although generally it is seen as illegal many more people are becoming more tolerant to the idea of graffiti.

More and more graffiti pieces are being recognized as art, and it is much believed that graffiti is a part of the underground Sydney society.

What should be asked is, are the councils cleaning up acts of vandalism or are they silencing those who already do not have a voice.

Whilst the Sydney City Council has spent alot of time and money dealing with Graffiti. Recent figures released on the Councils website states that:

During July 2007 – June 2008, the City removed 411,368 incidents of graffiti from the Local Government Area. This graffiti covered an area of almost 170,000m2.

The council also has strict policies on cleaning the Graffiti:

The City of Sydney recognises that quickly removing graffiti is an important step in improving the amenity of a neighbourhood. The visual impact of a clean wall is immediate and a tangible sign to residents that they live in a clean and safe neighbourhood.

The City of Sydney inspects graffiti ‘hotspots’ every 24 hours and removes graffiti within 24 hours of identification, or when consent from the building owner or resident is obtained.

The remainder of the Local Government Area is inspected every five days and graffiti removed within 24 hours of identification, or when consent from the building owner or resident is obtained.

However it is becoming more apparent that graffiti is becoming more tolerated amongst the public. When speaking to local Sydney city resident Ashleigh Malkik said about the graffiti in the streets “I like it, I think a lot of them (graffiti peices) are really creative.”

The OASIS centre for homeless teens use to have a designated graffiti wall set up for all the teens to cover the wall with their names and gave them a chance to be creative. It was recently painted over, a move that many people feel is damaging to the teens there. As many people feel that having their name on that wall was in some way their legacy, because otherwise they would not exist or be known.

Other cases of Graffiti that has gained considerable amounts of discussion is the Murel at Newtown of Aborginal rights with the words “I have a Dream” painted over an Aboriginal flag. Such graffiti works as these allow the oppressed of Australian societies to be noticed and to have their struggles recognised.

Although graffiti is still legally seen as an act of public vandalism, times are slowly changing where some of these works are seen as works of art and some are seen as works of protest, while others are seen as a mere way for the unknown to speak and to be remembered.

I have a Dream Murel at Newtown

I have a Dream Murel at Newtown


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