Graffiti is writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface, often in a public place. Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and it has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.
In modern times, paint (particularly spray paint) and marker pens have become the most commonly used graffiti materials. In most countries, marking or painting property without the property owner’s consent is considered defacement and vandalism, which is a punishable crime.
The Lennon Wall is a wall in Prague, Czech Republic which was once a normal wall but since the 1980’s has been filled with John Lennon inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs.
In 1988, the wall was a source of irritation for the then communist regime of Gustav Husak. Young Czechs would write grievances on the wall and in a report of the time this led to a clash between hundreds of students and security police on the nearby Charles Bridge. The movement these students followed was described ironically as “Lennonism” and Czech authorities described these people variously as alcoholics, mentally deranged, sociopathic, and agents of Western capitalism.
The wall continuously undergoes change and the original portrait of Lennon is long lost under layers of new paint. Even when the wall was repainted by some authorities, on the second day it was again full of poems and flowers. Today, the wall represents a symbol of youth ideals such as love and peace.
The wall is owned by the Knights of the Maltese Cross, who allowed the graffiti to continue on the wall, and is located at Velkopřerovské náměstí (Grand Priory Square), Malá Strana.
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