6 Mar /15

Graffito / Graffiti

Graffiti - Word of the day - EVS Translations
Graffiti – Word of the day – EVS Translations

Have you heard the latest weird graffiti related news? Two young German guys are facing a nine months’ jail sentence and…..three strokes of the cane on naked bottoms for a train depot trespass and spray painting a train. The act of vandalism took place last November in Singapore (the country is known for its cleanliness – spitting out a chewing gum on the streets is fined with 5000$ /nearly 3300 GBP – and zero tolerance for crime).

Five years ago another graffiti artist’s bottom suffered the Singapore caning punishment – at times, street art can be really painful.

The word graffiti is the plural form of graffito, from the Italian graffito/graffiato (scratch/scratched) and refers to a drawing or writing that have been scribbled, scratched or sprayed on a wall or other surface.

Graffiti art has existed since ancient times and is, with other words, as old as human kind is.

In our modern society graffiti art, though punishable in many countries, is highly valued, both for its artistic value, along the social and political messages it often carries. The British graffiti artist, hiding behind the pseudonym Bansky, is crowned for his dark humour satirical street art and his art is to be found and recognized around the world (last month’s video shows his latest graffiti artwork in the Gaza Strip).

The first known example of modern style graffiti survives in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey) and according to the local tourist industry depicts a brothel advertisement.

The first written reference to the word graffiti in the English language comes from 1851. Daniel Wilson in his Prehistoric Annals of Scotland described the Maeshowe Runes scratching as : “The slight scratching of many of the Maeshowe Runes, and the consequent irregularity and want of precision in the forms..of what, it must be remembered, are mere graffiti.”

Contemporary graffiti started at the time of WWI and went on trend with the rise of the Hip Hop culture as an expression of rebellion against a society that appears to value property rights over human rights. Graffiti art was the visual manifestation of the Hip-Hop blossoming in New York, as the weekly New York Magazine from 26 March, 1973 reports: “For Pop Master and one-time graffitist Claes Oldenburg, the blossoming graffiti are like a dream come true.”