Does Graffiti address Social issues? A look into Cities of Hope Street art project

How street art is being used to inspire action

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Graffiti culture a lot of the time goes ignored, however, it can be used and has evidence as to the level of awareness it can raise towards social issues. Art is enjoyable but it’s especially brilliant when art can inspire an audience for an act of change.

Earlier in the year a friend of mine introduced me to an organization called cities of hope, which used art to inspire action. Cities of Hope is a non-profit social justice organization developed by Vestige. The street artist come to Manchester in May for a duration of 9 days and painted change on the walls of Manchester. Although Street art can be a controversial subject, it effective in a way to bring social change which promotes action within society and this exactly the intentions of the city of hope organization.

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Interest in these art forms as social expression is broad, and the work itself takes many shapes—from simple tags of identity, to scrawled expressions of protest and politics, to complex and beautiful scenes that virtually everyone would say are “art”, despite their sometimes rough locations – David Madox 

I believe this is activism in the form of art, which is pretty brilliant when you really think about it, for something incredibly creative to illustrate social issues and voice a change. With this in mind, Graffiti is evidently a form of expression, allowing people to translate what they believe in, into a piece of art which is open to the public. The nine artists involved with the project include Hyuro, Pichiavo, Phlegm, Martin Whatson, C215, Faith47, Nevercrew, Axel Void and Case.

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A video of the action behind this project was posted within a BBC article. 

The nine-day event, which will see giant images painted on buildings, aims to raise awareness on issues such as homelessness, disability and immigration through graffiti works.

The Cities of hope members covered social justice issues throughout their street art such including Case addressing disability, C15 showing homelessness, Faith 47 addressing gay rights, Hyuro addressing war children which are my personal favourite, Martin Whatson piece on the environment and Phlegm has done a series of street art that has shown sustainability.

With the mass amount of issues that happening within society, I strongly believe that street art is an incredibly effective way to inspire people and to also make them more aware, it is extremely easy for people to get distracted with everyday lives and forget the social issues we encounter each day. ““Cities need a human touch… Not adverts and billboards. We as people need to see what people are thinking and feeling… Not what the advertisers would like us to be thinking and feeling” Faith47 I love this quote as although advertising is a major part of this generation, serious issues become numb to people, Street art definitely offers a way to relate to humans and essentially wake them up.

The project enabled them to raise money to further the future projects. Northern Quarter is flooded with various pieces of street Art, if you are ever to be in the area, take a stroll around to discover these great pieces.

Check out Cities of Hope online.

Cities of Hope Website 

Cities of Hope Facebook

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About letustalk2

19 year old Multimedia Journalism Student living in the city of Manchester.
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