Messages on the walls

This gallery showcases street art; how it speaks to the public about political and social issues; how it provokes thought, challenges authority, and throws away traditional art values and rules; how it livens up dull urban spaces; how it brings humanity to the concrete jungle. 

This is perhaps Banksy's most critical and daring piece - a mural painted on the side of the Bethlehem Wall. It depicts a little girl attempting to fly above the wall with balloons, as if attempting an escape from her secluded world. The fact that it the bird to her left has a wing with the colors of the Palestinian flag is also emblematic of the divide between Israel and Palestine. All in all, a very heavy-laden political commentary.
This image is on the side of a freeway in Austin, Texas, and is pretty low key in terms of its politics; indeed, it's really a matter of opinion. It just has this laid back, good-vibe feel that tells you to "live weird," which is really what a lot of street art is about - it's an expression of self that goes against the grain. It's not meant to be normal - it's meant to be weird.
This is another excellent piece by Banksy that, in my opinion, has slightly veiled undertones that speak to the similarities and differences between traditional art and its street counterpart. What we see depicted is a run-of-the-mill, atypical artist with his tools, yet instead of an easel he has a wall for his medium. It's almost as if Banksy is trying to illustrate how street artists are, in fact, true artists, and shouldn't be judged differently because of their medium of choice - it is still real art.
This is yet another Banksy piece that is painted on a wall in England. It's another great example of Banksy's political agenda at work, though it takes more thought than some others. Perhaps it is way of criticizing urban rules that prevent children from being children (the children depicted are playing catch with a sign that says, "No Ball Games").
Another Banksy piece, again with children as the subjects. Here, one boy raises a "flag" which has the logo "Tesco" inscribed upon it. Tesco is a huge British supermarket/store, and the image is likely intended to show how upcoming generations pledge their allegiance to commerce and corporations, since that is what our world has become. It's almost as if it's saying, "corporations are brainwashing our children and, consequently, our future."
This is from a street art project in Philadelphia. While it is intended to depict a man who was very important to that local community (an African American man by the name of Shawn, who was an inspirational community leader who passed away in 2013), its message goes beyond its intention. To me, it shows a vibrant man, surrounded by words that describe both his being and potential. It could be uplifting to anyone who views it, and I can't image how awe-inspiring it would be to see in person.
This mural is also from the Philadelphia street art project, though this one illustrates all sorts of people and images throughout history. It is very vibrant and detailed, and sort of shows the evolution of humanity - where we've come from, and where we are. It is meant to shows how connected we are with our roots, and perhaps, how we are ultimately all "one."
This is the final Banksy image in this gallery, and I think it is one of my favorites. It is located on the side of a house in San Francisco, and shows a rat dressed with an army hat about to throw a grenade. I suppose this one is intended to convey the message that military leaders are rats, or that when we engage in warfare we really dehumanize ourselves.
This last image is, perhaps, the least obvious, though that doesn't diminish its importance, especially within the context of this gallery. I think this piece is quite comic and ironic at the same time; it depicts a laughing man, in an apparently run-down building with a floor that's littered with garbage. It just goes to show how art can liven up any old sort of space. More than that, it sums up the intention of a lot street art, which is to make uninteresting, dull public spaces worthy of our attention and curiosity.
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This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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