Urban Art and Street Culture

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In praise of shady alleys

There is something about a shady alley. It basically invites you into itself. Like a sign that says ‘don’t push this button’. One finds that the human condition is such that the button is always and invariably pushed. Same thing. Countless alleys have been entered into by myself and the hound over the years. Each has a story to tell, a message to impart about the inhabitants and their microlives. Information hidden from normal view. Unaided, unadulterated, unseen. The body language of the cities streets is etched most strongly into its subways and its alleys. The shady alleys. I urge you, too, to explore..

Sydney back street 1

Shady alley.

The paradox of the Inner City

 

bird shot

The watchers

This image is a small stencil from one of the most complex walls of street art in Darlinghurst, Sydney,   This is an area with high rate of change and gentrification, high levels of homelessness and social problems like unemployment, alongside a lot of exclusive shops and expensive real estate (thus wealthy residents).

This paradox of the Inner City- common to many large Western Cities – and the social/personal conflicts inherent within, is expressed often only by its most politicized and disenfranchised citizens – those who paint the walls.

Mullum, 2012

go back to sleep …

Even in small towns , signs like this appear from time to time.. “Go back to sleep, your government is in control. “

Stolen

Stolen

“Stolen”

Showcasing the inventiveness of street art: these milk crates have been arranged to form the word ‘Stolen’. This is the Aboriginal Art Gallery in inner city Wilson Street, Darlington in Sydney. This building across the road from where I lived for 3 years housed the largest historical collection of Aboriginal artworks in Australia. In 2009 the NSW government reclaimed this land and is set to demolish (may have already done so). The collection will be dispersed from what I have heard.

Therefore, this land was stolen from the original inhabitants of this land not once but TWICE>

Street art is one truly effective way that the voiceless have their voices heard.

Aboriginalflag

And to finish one of the best art walls in the whole of Australia – in Redfern, inner city. The painting sits astride a vacant lot and adjacent to one of the most infamous derelict streets in the city, although it is quickly being gentrified. Additionally, ‘the Block’ as it is known in some parts of Australia is under constant 24/7 surveillance from a nearby police station 7 stories high less than 50 metres away. Despite some social problems and intolerance and discrimination toward the local Aboriginal population from the police and some of the newly gentrified inhabitants, there is a wonderful community¬† there.

This famous Aboriginal Flag spans four terraces across and two stories high, and is very impressive to view.

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