People are subtly mocking forms of authority all over the world in peaceful protests. This new “post-graffiti” sees these new street artist taking aim at the political elites and hierarchy.
By Jeff Berwick @ The Dollar Vigilante
For example, sometime during the Labor Day weekend someone painted red the hands of the Washington statute in Mill Park in Trenton, New Jersey. The historic statute was cast in Italy and first showed at the US Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876.
“It was political, I know that,” believes artist Jon Naar, whose home features a view of the statue. Having written the first book on graffiti in America, Naar noticed the hands were the only thing painted red, hinting to him that this was a politically motivated tactic.
This is not the first time art groups in Trenton have decided landmarks for political statements must be re-made in order to reflect reality. In 1994, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of the New World, an ad hoc Native American group splashed red paint on the statue of the explorer in Trenton’s Columbus park to protest genocide. A mural of the reading of the Declaration of Independence in Trenton in 1776 featured on wall in the downtown area there was painted several years ago in a case never solved.
In July two Germans, Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke, climbed up the Brooklyn Bridge towers in the middle of the night in order to replace the stars and stripes with a white version of Old Glory.
Wermke recounted an experience shortly afterwards: “While I was watching joggers taking pictures, a burly American with a cowboy hat approached me and said: ‘Did you see the white flags? Usually there are American flags up there, but now they’re white. Did Brooklyn surrender to Manhattan? I mean what else do white flags mean?’ ‘I don’t know,’ I answered. ‘White also means peace.’ He laughed and said: ‘Oh yes, New York surrendered and America is the most peaceful country in the world.’”
“After a while reporters showed up, you saw cameras everywhere,” Leinkauf said. “Around 10:30am, when the first mobile units and helicopters showed up, followed by police, the atmosphere and also my mood changed. It added another meaning to the flags: the possibility of a threat.”
In Europe, similar peaceful actions have happened. Just recently this Soviet monument in Bulgaria had its soldiers turned to American superheroes.
It’s happened before. Last year it was painted pink in order to express Bulgaria’s regrets for having supported Russia during the Cold War.
In this picture, the same monument is painted the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
Russia has called on the government in Bulgaria to prevent the vandalism of Soviet monuments. We’ve covered similar actions here in The Dollar Vigilante (TDV) Blog before, such as one in Istanbul:
When one man painted a public staircase rainbow colors, the community loved it. But when city workers of Istanbul, Turkey covered the brightly-colored street art with dull gray paint, people re-painted the staircase swiftly. A battle of sorts had broken out.
A retired engineer named Huseyin Cetinel spent reportedly $800 on paint to make the steps in his area more attractive. He says that nature is colorful and he believes cities can be as well. His work went viral. Many saw the paint job as a call for equal rights. The artist said he wasn’t trying to promote any group, but simply add color.
But when the city painted over the staircase, the people of Turkey were outraged. At first the government denied doing so, but ultimately fessed up like a child under the pressure of a knowing parent.
A quiet war was waged as guerrilla artists painted the city with color while the city covered it up with gray. Gray seems to be the color of choice for unimaginative, communist-style central planners.
Ultimately, the city let the citizens have their colorful way.
People are mocking their political structures in creative and noticeable ways worldwide.
Some may say that painting these objects is destroying “property”. If it were “private property” we would agree. Since it is all “public property” then things change somewhat.
In any case, worldwide people are beginning to passively and creatively let the power structures know that they don’t like their mostly statist gray propaganda and are refashioning it themselves. Perhaps this is part of the evolution – not revolution – as people begin to take back their own sovereignty using things like bitcoin… or, at the very least, artistically letting the powers that be know that we are still here, still human and they are going to have to try even harder to suppress us.
This article originally appeared at The Dollar Vigilante