In an article in today's Guardian the UK based street artist known as Banksy laments the approach taken to graffiti by the authorities in my home town of Melbourne in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games, which are currently on there. In short the City Council doubled its anti-graffiti budget and launched both a clean up campaign and an assault on street artists.
Much graffiti is an eye-sore and can certianly have a terribe impact on local amenity. But in this article, Banksy makes a compelling case for the value of street art and for its unique contribution to Australia and Melbourne's creativity in particular.
In closing he suggests that the precedent set by Melbourne will be repeated in London in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics, which I'm sure is true, although the authorities will have an awful lots of walls to clean arcoss. It would certainly be a pity if we denied visitors to London the opportunity to see the sort of witty and playful street art exemplified by the best of Banksy.
But my pesonal favorites are those which he painted directly on to the West Bank Barrier in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.
For more information:
Gudardian: Banksy at the West Bank Barrier in pictures