Graffiti As A Public Display Of Life

Friday, November 12, 2010

In Buenos Aires, it is everywhere. It is overwhelming. I remember walking around at night with a friend and asking about it.

“Do you paint graffiti?” I asked.

“No, no. I don’t. But, I like it. It shows you that there is life in the city.”

Growing up with a Canadian mindset, for a while I believed that things had to be done a certain way. There were rules and regulations put into place in order to control societal chaos. It was organized and dogmatic. It was robotic. If I hadn’t stepped outside my cultural box, I would not have seen the harmony of the human spirit.

I remember the first time I went to a “different” country. I went to visit a friend in Taiwan and was genuinely terrified at the haphazard flow of traffic. It all seemed like a crazy mess of people weaving in between one another on scooters and motorcycles. Still, not once did I see an accident.

Trying to cross traffic in Buenos Aires was just as heart palpitating. Even though the light was green, there was always a car or taxi or bicycle trying to squeeze through the channel of pedestrians. A couple of times I saw some poor pedestrian nearly get his nose nicked. It was not a place I felt wholly comfortable riding a bicycle. Still, there were cyclists and I never heard of one being injured or dying. From both observations, I began to see that people are such incredible creatures at finding a way (or a route).

We learn from a young age that chaos is dangerous. Without order and rules in place, we are beings lost and wandering. We would probably hurt one another. We would probably take advantage of one another. We could not possibly trust one another.

Another conversation I had the other day was with a regular coffee drinker at my work. He is a journalist and has lived in many different countries where rules and regulations are either total or obsolete. Through his observations, he saw how a society without heavy policing and/or heavy artillery usually is a lot more safe. Not as many people robbed others, there were not as many violent deaths and people tended to help one another out. Trust is a positively re-enforcing thing.

But, when the night comes and the dogs are unleashed, how do we fight back against oppression? By having a voice (or a spray can). To show everyone that we remain living.

By Brit Weaver


About the Author

Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog,

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