STREET ART IN ATHENS – GREECE
The Street Art in Athens is said to be the biggest in the world. As one of the world’s first civilizations, Greece has a long, long history and relationship with just about everything, including graffiti and street art. The word graffiti actually comes from the Greek word graphi, meaning ‘to write’. Inscriptions and messages have been carved and embedded into buildings for centuries – an ancient art of communication.
Athens is certainly graffitied from head to toe – most first floors of buildings in the city center are covered. There are also plenty of pieces that are simply adding character and beauty to the city. In fact, many shop owners have had artists paint murals on their entrance doors and the New York Times has called Athens a “contemporary mecca for street art in Europe”. It’s everywhere!
The general view is that the graffiti movement began in New York as a reaction to the economic crisis, spreading throughout the world and arriving in Athens around 1992 where artistic murals first began appearing in the outlying neighborhoods before moving to the center.
Greece is struggling economically and politically while also having a bit of an identity crisis. With high unemployment and lower wages, people have taken to the streets, not just for riots and protests, but for political art and expression as well.