Tuesday, August 30, 2011
China: The Great Wall of Graffiti
These days in China the graffiti/street art scene is booming and becoming quite popular both domestically and throughout the world. In fact, The Great Wall of China itself is being heavily tagged by many of the four million visitors it sees each year. And while many people believe that this is all a relatively new art evolution, the truth is that graffiti in China has had a very significant and colorful history that started long ago before this recent boom.
According to Wikipedia's Graffiti in Asia:
"In China, graffiti began with Mao Zedong in the 1920s who used revolutionary slogans and paintings in public places to galvanise the country's communist revolution. Mao holds the record for the longest piece of graffiti, which contains 4000 characters criticizing his teachers and the state of Chinese society."
And an article from 2003 in the China Daily claims that:
"During the Cultural Revolution, pesky neighbors could be eliminated through accusations posted on a community wall. When Deng Xiaoping made his move for opening and reform, he designated a wall in Beijing where people could freely write their thoughts."
Currently, there are many very talented artists and groups that work together like Beijing's ABS-Crew and Shanghai's Oops Graffiti Crew who are generally designers and illustrators that work for advertising agencies. And the majority of their street art includes cool intricate designs and graphic tags rather than political protests. However, recently the ABS-Crew created a huge stunning mural entitled "Inflation" which clearly is a powerful statement against capitalists:
In December of 2010, many Graffiti Artists Bombed Beijing during an international event called "Meeting the Neighborhood Graffiti Week" in "The More Than + Pop Art Festival." Here is an English news video on that:
See also: King Robbo vs Banksy: "Graffiti Wars"