May 23, 2024

To spray or not to spray: Graffiti art in Prague

Walking Through the Streets
While walking through the narrow cobble streets of Prague, Czech Republic tourists and locals notice an array of graffiti art. Although graffiti vandalism is illegal, others think it is a form of artistic expression. Almost every block is sprayed on; whether it is on a building, a lamppost, the sidewalk, a trash bin, or a bench. One of the more well-known graffiti sites in the Prague is a mural called The John Lennon Wall.

The John Lennon Wall is a tribute to the deceased icon's ideas about peace, freedom and love.
The John Lennon Wall is a tribute to the deceased icon’s ideas about peace, freedom and love.


John Lennon Wall and Soviet Control

The Lennon Wall, or The Lennon Peace Wall, located in the Grand Prior Square around the corner from The Love Lock Bridge, started after the singer was fatally shot on Dec. 8, 1980. The wall is to pay tribute to the fallen singer and his peace promotion.

After his death, peace activists within the country painted a portrait of him on the wall. Then more people started to come to paint, sing covers of his songs, write song lyrics from various Beatles songs, draw peace signs and anything related to his ideas about coexisting and loving one another. According to Prague.net, this was an act of defiance towards the Czech government.

The Czechs were repressed under the Soviet rule until 1989 and were not allowed to artistically express themselves. Singing popular songs about peace, love and freedom,  Lennon’s were banned.

The totalitarian government did not want Czech citizens to have any thoughts of freedom because that would mean losing control of its citizens. According to Buzzle.com, the totalitarian government controlled all public and personal aspects of Czech daily life: religion, education and politics. Graffiti art was one of the few ways they could express themselves during this time.

Other Graffiti Art
While The Lennon Wall is well-known among graffiti art, there are other lesser known works around the city shown in the images below.

On The Love Lock Bridge locals and foreigners can write or draw on the wall to show their love for one another.
On The Love Lock Bridge people can write or draw on the wall to show their love for one another.
While walking up the stairs of the Beer Garden one can see various graffiti art.
While walking up the stairs of the Beer Garden, one can see various graffiti art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Problems, Opinions and Legal Ramifications
Many tourists mention graffiti art can enhance or destroy a city, depending on the content of the graffiti.

“I have seen some of the street art around Prague. I think some of it is vandalizing in some areas but I think if they

Locals and tourists admire the graffiti art on The John Lennon Wall.
Locals and tourists admire the graffiti art on The John Lennon Wall.

designate an area where they could do their graffiti and art it, would be quite nice,” said Kristen, an Australian tourist.

The debate on the acceptance of graffiti art is still up in the air. Other tourists, like Julie, from Berlin, Germany, said it depends on the type of art and if it is on historical monuments.

According to Provision 182 of the Czech Criminal Code, graffiti art is illegal but this does not stop artists from spraying.

All-in-all, the graffiti art scene contains expressive artists who not only show their skills but they send out a message. Radek Wolmuth, an art curator, said graffiti artists want to send out a message about what is going on in the world.

Edited by Maggie Jones

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