Weekly Photograph Challenge: It ain’t written in the papers, but it’s written on the walls…

The graffiti-clad Tsoi's Wall on The Arbat in Moscow
The graffiti-clad Tsoi’s Wall on The Arbat in Moscow

 

The graffiti-clad Tsoi's Wall on The Arbat in Moscow
The graffiti-clad Tsoi’s Wall on The Arbat in Moscow

 

The graffiti-clad Tsoi's Wall on The Arbat in Moscow
The graffiti-clad Tsoi’s Wall on The Arbat in Moscow

 

These photographs of a graffiti-clad wall on one of Moscow’s most famous streets are my response to this week’s Weekly Photograph Challenge – Wall.

Tsoi’s Wall (Стена Цоя) is slap bang in the middle of The Arbat, a pedestrianized street traditionally frequented by many of Moscow’s most celebrated writers, artists, and musicians, and is home to an eclectic mix of portrait painters, soapbox poets, street musicians, sidewalk cafés and souvenir stands.

Dedicated to the musician Viktor Tsoi and his band Kino, the wall has become an alternative landmark in Moscow, particularly for bohemian travellers, who not only share their views and feelings on the wall, but also sometimes leave a broken lighted cigarette in the special ash plate provided.

I am a huge fan of graffiti, which is arguably the first form of art to ever exist, whether it’s done on the side of a cave or on the side of a building there really isn’t much difference. There have been times and places in the world where when people’s freedoms were restricted, graffiti artists took to the streets to send their message by expressing the feelings of the public. I should also add that although I am a fan of graffiti, I am not a graffiti artist.

This quote, from the fantastic song Heartland by the English group The The, was written in 1986 at the height of the Reagan/Thatcher years. The song’s lyrics seem to sum up my feelings on many topics, but in particular about graffiti; and it seems fitting that I should include it in this blog post, as both when I took theses photographs, and when I thought of the subject “Wall”, I could hear them going around my head.

So many people, can’t express what’s on their minds,
Nobody knows them & nobody ever will,
Until their backs are broken & their dreams are stolen,
& they can’t get what they want, then they’re gonna get angry!
Well it ain’t written in the papers, but its written on the walls
The way this country is divided to fall,
So the cranes are moving on the skyline–
Trying to knock down–this town
But the stains on the heartland, can never be removed,
from this country, that’s sick, sad, and confused.
Here comes another winter, of long shadows & high hopes,
Here comes another winter, waitin for utopia,
waitin for hell to freeze over.

While on a holiday in Moscow, and as a self-confessed bohemian traveller, I found myself becoming completely obsessed with these spontaneous murals and messages. These are my three favourite images from the wall.

 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Carol. says:

    Brilliant post as always, Ali – love the The The (!) quote too. Hope you’ve been getting my emails – not heard from you in ages, but always enjoy reading your blog.
    Much love to you and the family.xx.

    Like

    1. alidunnell says:

      Dear Carol, Miss you like mad. Not sure if I’ve received any emails, don’t think so. Will write forthwith. In the meantime, it’s lovely to hear from you. Ali xxx

      Like

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