GRAFFITI IS NOT ART


graffitibillboardMy comrades usually invent the most ludicrous ways in which to “express themselves.” When they’re not being opprobrious to motorists by throwing stones across major highways, you will find them mutilating their skins with anchors and dragon tattoos which they will have the temerity to call art. “Back in the halcyon days, the youth used to express themselves by mustering proper grammar and sending letters to the editor,” recalls my old man, Grandpa Richard.

What rankles him even the most is the fact that my comrades are fast turning towns across the country into a canvass to “express themselves” with their asinine graffiti. It appears that every dissident who can afford a spray can is on his way to ensure the country is defaced with their moronic and subversive graffiti.

The trend has really caught fire in different estates across Nairobi and the fatuous behavior is being aped notoriously in Mombasa. Last week for Instance, vandals defaced the walls at Fort Jesus Museum, the World Heritage Site built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. “If nothing is done to curb this craze, Kenya risks losing its culture to a bunch of crazy comrades itching to spray their symbols of marijuana leaves upon every edifice they come across,” complains Grandpa Richard.

“They (young people) arm-twisted the president into allowing them to doodle their psycho-babble onto matatus and this has so far proved disastrous,” notes the old man. He further claims that as a result of the President’s directive, public transport is fast turning into an eye-sore. “If only Mr. Kenyatta read newspapers instead of consigning them to the butchers, then perhaps he would have discovered that fulfilling the whim of irate young people desperately craving to earn the bad boy street-cred wasn’t such a brilliant idea.”

According to Grandpa, this nation would be better off if young people directed their energy from defacing public property to putting their names on job applications or attending NYS recruitments. He compares the graffiti spraying to canines trying to mark their territory, only that dogs can be trained to obey orders and perform useful tasks.

“These vandals have got nothing important to say, they just run about spraying their asininity in broken English as a desperate attempt to gain attention and offend seniors,” says the pensioner.

What is even more disconcerting is the fact that people are not contented with tattooing their bodies and vandalizing major highways. Applying graffiti on domestic animals with lame political slogans then abandoning the poor donkeys at the city centre surely takes the cookie.  People are taking this “self-expression” thingy too far.

While firebrands might argue that graffiti is a bona fide form of art, my old man begs to differ. He suspects that if there’s any form of graffiti that qualifies as art, then it as rare as a decent comrade. “People who call graffiti art have an exaggerated opinion about their lack of talent,” he concludes.

jowaljones

Jowal Jones is a columnist and correspondent with Kenya's leading newspaper, Daily Nation. He also dabbles in fiction works at times, hoping to be the next Stephen King. Sometimes he takes time out from writing to perfect his deer-dancing and goat-screaming skills.