I ran across a cool bit about a graffiti artist in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her culture looks down on contemporary art (and thus graffiti) as ‘western’. Yet she has adopted this foreign form of expression to create culturally nascent art. There is a profound and beautiful statement in what she does, the risks she takes (see: land mines).
I’ve long loved graffiti as an artistic expression — not tagging, but inspired urban art. While many often think of it as punk kids and vandals, it can also be a critical eye in very public view. Banksy is certainly one of the most well-known, a British street artist with prolific socio-political views.
I highly recommend checking out the film Bomb It, which features street artists from all over the world who use graffiti to beautify or make commentary in public spaces. The Cape Town segment is one of my favorites. I love South Africa, it is one of the most beautiful and complex places I’ve ever been. The artists in the film use graffiti, once seen as solely a political tool, to reclaim and create beauty inside of broken down spaces.