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Graffiti festival

A  well-organised and supervised popular attraction, highlighting the concept of “graffiti as art”, themed “Street Life Festival”, will celebrate 10 years on May 6, 9am-7pm, in Saripolou and Athinon Streets Limassol.

Over the years, the event has gained popularity and has managed to attract more than ten thousand people becoming one of the largest annual cultural events in Cyprus. Music, graffiti, paintings, jugglers, sale of handicraft items, food and drinks await the visitors to the festival in the historical centre of Limassol.

Background on graffiti

“Graffiti” – allegedly originates from the Italian word for “scratch”, which was itself inspired by the Greek word “graphein” meaning to write.

At the extremes – ugly scrawled obscenities at one end, works by Banksy at the other – many people would accept that the former is vandalism and the latter is art. Between these poles, opinions are greatly blurred.

Unauthorised acts of graffiti committed without permission on another person’s, or public property – whether viewers find it artistically compelling is irrelevant – makes the question “when does graffiti become art?” meaningless. Marking or painting property without the owner’s permission is defacement and vandalism.

Arguably the most controversial street artist in the world, Banksy has developed an entire art subculture devoted to his works. Banksy’s art can impact any location at any given moment. His identity remains unknown, even after over 20 years of being involved with the graffiti scene. He has worked with many different types of street art media and street art types. His work not only includes many powerful, often controversial images, but they may also be found throughout the Internet as viral images.

A social and political message

The first time I really took notice of graffiti in Cyprus was when I was walking in the Old City Nicosia. In an empty street walls were covered with colourful graffiti, some of it as high as 20 feet. Upon first appearance it felt like a dangerous area to be walking, especially at dusk – a connotation that has been set in my mind.

Some artists have a general grudge against society which they demonstrate by painting obscenities.
Graffiti expresses underlying social and political messages and a whole genre of artistic expression is based upon spray paint graffiti styles. There’s graffiti to be seen (often admired) all over Cyprus addressing issues of racial prejudice, frustration over the current economic situation and the tiresomely unresolved “divide”. Back streets in Limassol are covered in graffiti defined as “art expression” and, I have to say, some of it is rather impressive.

Street Life Festival calling
Participants, be they individuals or crews, are required to apply for a spot on the giant graffiti wall. For everybody else who would like to try their skills at graffiti art, there is one wall allocated for small artwork.

For more information call 25 353 573, or view the Street Life Festival FB page for updates.

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