How To Look At Art: Writing on the wall

Follow Your Dreams Cancelled, Banksy, 2010, Chinatown in Boston, US
Follow Your Dreams Cancelled, Banksy, 2010, Chinatown in Boston, US

When street graffiti is not a nuisance - like those name tags and doodles - graffiti can be art, important public art. It has a serious purpose.

It engages broad audiences that do not have opportunities to participate in traditional art museums and galleries (providing that the graffiti maintain aesthetic qualities). But even more crucially, it can be a social intervention.

It can make social and political issues visible. Starting dialogue and empower people to bridge the social rifts, graffiti artists can be powerful civic activists.

Banksy (he has kept his identity hidden to avoid law suits for 'vandalising' properties, but now is believed to be Robin Gunningham) from Bristol, UK, stencils his though-provoking images across the world, from New Orleans in United States to Israel’s West Bank security wall.

However, connecting art with social change, artists must get actively engaged and educated about the civic life issues, as well as find new tactics and strategies to keep their creations fresh and effective.

'Graffiti is the tool you have if you have almost nothing,' say Banksy, 'Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint.'

Buy or commission Kenyan art, original paintings or digital prints, for your home and office.

Visit, or contact Alla Tkachuk on [email protected]