Anarchists & Underdogs | Images of Social & Political Graffiti in the UK.
By Paul Wright
Long before the days of social media and online petitions graffiti has been used as an expressive display against the corporate and political powers that be.
When I say graffiti, I don’t mean the multi-coloured three dimensional ‘tagging’ and artwork that you see aside canal towpaths and scrapyards, I’m talking about early graffiti, hand written messages and slogans written by anarchists and underdogs across the county.
I picked up a couple of books on this subject ‘The writing on the wall’ by Roger Perry and ‘Graffiti’ by Richard Freeman. These books show a number of early images of graffiti from the 1960s through to the 1970s. Amongst the nonsensical written messages and slogans, there are pictures of graffiti addressing racism, capitalism, greed and inequality, all daubed across the walls and bridges of our inner cities and suburbs.
These images got me intrigued and made me want to dig deeper and uncover more images of this nature. A high number of the images uncovered come from the turbulent Thatcher years, where tensions were high and the disenfranchised youth and unemployed expressed their anger and feelings towards the Tory government and authorities of the era.
There is something about a these images that make you think about the message being put across and what became of the people behind them.