Graffiti - Paint And Protest

Episodes

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Broadcast
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20160912

Graffiti's modern role is evolving rapidly. From Europe to Brazil, street artists are displaying their anger about inequality, invisibility, corruption, control, poverty, and political turmoil. Powerful images and words on walls are creating international headlines.

But can breaking one law help to change another? Where should the line be drawn between democracy and vandalism, between vandalism and art?

Street art as a form of protest is nothing new, of course, but the way in which images are shared, re-posted and retweeted raises new questions about its global potential to affect change. Is the digital canvas now as vital as the physical wall?

Steve Urquhart talks to graffiti writers and street artists based thousands of miles apart. Why do they choose to risk their lives, their limbs, their freedom, to highlight their social concerns? Why do they believe it's their right - their duty - to reclaim public space? What is really being achieved, apart from saying, "I was here"?

Contributors include Blek Le Rat (the "father of stencil graffiti" from Paris), Roc Blackblock who creates massive murals on Barcelona's walls, and 'Cripta' Djan Ivson who scales São Paulo's historic buildings to cover them with stark, crude lettering known as "pixação".

Producer: Steve Urquhart

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

2016091220170224 (R4)

Graffiti's modern role is evolving rapidly. From Europe to Brazil, street artists are displaying their anger about inequality, invisibility, corruption, control, poverty, and political turmoil. Powerful images and words on walls are creating international headlines.

But can breaking one law help to change another? Where should the line be drawn between democracy and vandalism, between vandalism and art?

Street art as a form of protest is nothing new, of course, but the way in which images are shared, re-posted and retweeted raises new questions about its global potential to affect change. Is the digital canvas now as vital as the physical wall?

Steve Urquhart talks to graffiti writers and street artists based thousands of miles apart. Why do they choose to risk their lives, their limbs, their freedom, to highlight their social concerns? Why do they believe it's their right - their duty - to reclaim public space? What is really being achieved, apart from saying, "I was here"?

Contributors include Blek Le Rat (the "father of stencil graffiti" from Paris), Roc Blackblock who creates massive murals on Barcelona's walls, and 'Cripta' Djan Ivson who scales São Paulo's historic buildings to cover them with stark, crude lettering known as "pixação".

Producer: Steve Urquhart

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

2016091220170224 (R4)

Graffiti's modern role is evolving rapidly. From Europe to Brazil, street artists are displaying their anger about inequality, invisibility, corruption, control, poverty, and political turmoil. Powerful images and words on walls are creating international headlines.

But can breaking one law help to change another? Where should the line be drawn between democracy and vandalism, between vandalism and art?

Street art as a form of protest is nothing new, of course, but the way in which images are shared, re-posted and retweeted raises new questions about its global potential to affect change. Is the digital canvas now as vital as the physical wall?

Steve Urquhart talks to graffiti writers and street artists based thousands of miles apart. Why do they choose to risk their lives, their limbs, their freedom, to highlight their social concerns? Why do they believe it's their right - their duty - to reclaim public space? What is really being achieved, apart from saying, "I was here"?

Contributors include Blek Le Rat (the "father of stencil graffiti" from Paris), Roc Blackblock who creates massive murals on Barcelona's walls, and 'Cripta' Djan Ivson who scales São Paulo's historic buildings to cover them with stark, crude lettering known as "pixação".

Producer: Steve Urquhart

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.