Anthropology 1025F/G Lecture Notes - Fraternities And Sororities
GRAFFITI AS ART
Graffiti is mostly related to gangs and considered as a form of vandalization in our
society. However, this report suggests that graffiti has a bigger meaning than just vandalization.
Graffiti to me is a way of expressing views. It is a form of art that may be used to express
positive views or even negative views. This report will present three entirely different types of
graffiti that will demonstrate unique meanings behind each of them. They will also help state the
reason people choose to draw graffities at certain locations without openly expressing their
Graffiti has been taking place in Canada and other nations in the form of drawings,
words, carvings, etc. on personal as well as public properties. It is posted in an area where it can
be most visible to the public in order for a person or a group to leave their mark. It could also be
used to express strong feelings and views. Walking across a street or under a bridge, one may
witness beautiful graffities which may have taken place due to someone‟s simple passion for art,
but the inability to find resources to express it. The word graffiti has its roots attached to the
phrase, „to write‟ in the Greek language. Researchers have been interested in studying this topic
as graffiti has never been appreciated or respected, but on the contrary has always been
considered bad. According to many scholars, this is because of the effect it has on the society.
Graffiti has mostly been found tagging a particular sex or culture, or is an indication for poor
control in the society. As viewed in the movie, “Hobo with a Shotgun”, graffiti has a huge
impact in distinguishing a disturbed and high criminalized area as compared to a more ordered
and controlled society. Visiting Downtown London, one can easily witness graffiti pin-pointing
prostitutes, drugs, or other illegal activities, which causes disturbance in the society. Many
scholars argue that graffiti has taken a turn from art on streets to illegal remarks or symbols that
are the cause of disorder in society.
In this report, as stated before, I collected three different types of graffities. These
graffities have been collected from London, Ontario as well as Brampton, Ontario. The first
graffiti was collected at the University Student Center through my phone camera (Plate 1). I
found several graffities all over campus illustrating the same message of welcoming new
students to the University of Western, Ontario. I chose to use this picture as it sends out the
message in a very concise manner and is located in the middle of the student centre, thus making
it evident and presentable to all students and staff. It is a combination of words, pictures and
several colors, symbolizing western to be a fun environment where everyone is welcome to
follow any path they may desire and be whoever they want.
The second graffiti was collected at the Spoke through my phone camera as well (Plate
2). This graffiti was carved on the tables at Spoke by me. I chose to carve the symbol of my
sorority in order to create awareness amongst the student body around November. I chose Spoke
out of all places on campus, as it is permutable to carve on tables at this particular location along
with the fact that many students visit the Spoke at various hours and are most prone to
witnessing the symbol there. I chose to use this picture in this report as it has an entirely different
purpose and message than the other two pictures. I also chose to include this picture as it has
been carved instead of painted, which is the most common way of graffiti.
The last graffiti was collected at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Brampton,
Ontario by my camera (Plate 3). This graffiti sends out a negative message that is directed
towards particular students. This graffiti was spray painted on the outside portable walls at
school to send out a hatred message towards particular students. I chose to include this graffiti as
a demonstration for graffiti being a way to express one‟s feelings that may not be acceptable in
society. Many times people don‟t feel comfortable expressing their views in public, which is why
they choose to perform graffiti about them at public places anonymously. Although this is
negative and directed towards particular people, it is still a form of art, which many people
choose to decline because of its negative appearance.
The graffities collected from the fieldwork are:
Plate 1: An example of a graffiti which welcomes new students of 2008 to Western in the
University Student Centre, 3rd floor.