Graffiti is any unsolicited marking to walls and other surfaces. It covers a wide variety of forms including ‘masterpieces’, ‘tags’, juvenile scribbles, scratchings and etchings. Although there are many types of graffiti, by far the most prevalent throughout the UK and Ireland are juvenile scribbles which are responsible for most of the graffiti on our streets.
In Northern Ireland graffiti can often be sectarian or racist and offensive in nature. As part of their efforts to improve the local environment, many councils engage with communities where sectarian graffiti is an issue, and direct efforts into more constructive murals.
In some places, local community groups or land owners invite 'street artists' to draw murals or quotes on their property.
The are a number of websites which showcase the work of well-known graffiti artists from around the world. Banksy is a UK street artist with an international reputation for imaginative, thought-provoking works. In Northern Ireland one particular type of graffiti has gained cultural status - murals depicting armed volunteers or historical scenes have adorned walls in both protestant and catholic areas across NI since the 1960s. You can find out more about the cultural significance of graffiti murals in Belfast.
If you want to report graffiti in your local area you should firstly contact your local council and tell them about the problem. Your council, or its contractor, will usually remove graffiti from public buildings or monuments. In some cases it may also be able to help you with graffiti on private buildings.
Many groups involved in Live Here Love Here use the resources available to tackle unsightly graffiti in their parks or streets. Often groups use a BIG Spring Clean as a starting point to renovate an area such as a local park or community centre, which will often involve graffiti removal. Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful can help by providing assistance and advice to help get you started.
If you find graffiti unacceptable and think it is a blight on your local area why not show your support for Live Here Love Here and we will keep you updated on everything we are doing to tackle the problem of litter, graffiti and other environmental issues damaging our local communities.