Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hope on the walls: Graffiti in Athens, Greece

A capital A inscribed in a circle used to be the most popular autograph on Greek walls. Armed with the ubiquitous cans of spray paint, anarchists left their marks on the exterior of buildings ranging from foreign banks to government offices. In the midst of the financial crisis, Greece is breathing in anxiety and exhaling anger. When I walked in the streets of Thessaloniki in February, I was unsurprised by the messages of popular disappointment or by the calls for resistance to the austerity measures of the bailout packages. Five months later, the disappointment and anger remain -- but they have been supplanted by messages of camaraderie and love. Greek youth have transformed the walls into receptacles of hope and humor, with the required doses of political commentary and social critique. A glimpse into the walls of Athens from my latest photo-walk:

Satire of former Prime Minister Papandreou: "Everything good."

On the steps of the convention center in Thessaloniki

In my heart, (there is) lava; in yours, (there is) a cramp... Next to an empty store for rent in Cholargos, Athens.

Life is a carnival - Plaka, Athens

"Freedom. Camaraderie. From human to human." 

"Live, love, and learn." - Effie, April 15, 2012 in Plaka, Athens

"When you see a priest, hold your balls." (Direct translation...)

"Step 1: Wake yourself up. They are afraid of your power."

"This is a poem."

Karagiozis, an iconic image in Greek folklore.
Plaka, Athens

"Step 2: All of your fears stem from television."
The last stage of evolution: stone-throwing?

"I love you."

Same graffiti, different corner of Athens. No "I love you" caption -- but that's the Acropolis on the top left...

Some Euros, a little bit of heart, a bit of conspiracy, a lot of Africa. 

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