The Case for Artistic Mien
While passing through Mohamed Mahmoud Street, it is hard to not notice the spectacular drawings on walls, these are an assortment of graffiti forms, some of them named: Wildstyle, Stencil, Heaven and Piece. It is not a novel case for Egyptians as for centuries ancient Egyptians have been decorating their temples and documenting their history through pharaonic drawings on walls, which can be considered one of the oldest forms of graffiti. The art of graffiti has developed a lot since then in terms of technique and tools. Instead of engraving walls, people now use a much easier method which is spraying on surfaces. Graffiti is a controversial issue since it is considered vandalism by some people because it may contain some offensive implications and as art by others as it beautifies the walls and improve the appearance of the buildings. However, it is a significant issue since it touches upon the fundamental right of freedom of expression. It is essential to shed light on why graffiti should be respected and considered as art rather than accusing it to be vandalism.
Opponents of graffiti argue that it is vandalism. Judge Hard claims, "the trouble [of graffiti] is that it is has been sprayed all over other people's property without their consent and that is simply vandalism” (Akbar). This argument is flawed. Firstly, while it is true for private properties owned by individuals, there’s a myriad of walls in the city that are public property belonging to all the citizens and thus, also the citizens should have a say in its appearance. If they want graffiti, then it should be accepted, for example: it should be considered vandalism if only the owner of the private place is not consulted beforehand. Secondly, a more precise definition of vandalism has to be considered. While some graffiti can be offensive and tasteless not amounting to anything but doodling on walls other types of graffiti can be seen as art which puts life into the city. Graffiti transforms “the grey, dull, boring and bland places” to colorful masterpieces, which refines the appearance of the area. Psychological studies have confirmed that what surrounds us, affects our psychological state and it is confirmed that it takes the stress away and it is psychologically healthy. Even museums and art galleries recognize graffiti as art and free some space for graffiti masterpieces, however, very few people have the luxury to go to museums and galleries, so that graffiti artists make their art is accessible and available on the streets for everyone. Apart from the aesthetic aspects of graffiti it has practical uses; the independent magazine UK stated that police in Toronto “have just hired a street artist to paint walls to help find the man who murdered [someone]” (Akbar). So, instead of claiming that graffiti “damages property”, one can verify that it can help society.
Furthermore, graffiti is considered as “the voice of the people”. Graffiti gives people the...