"IT'S LIKE HAVING A GUIDEBOOK WRITTEN JUST FOR YOU"

THE COLORFUL JOHN LENNON WALL, A PRAGUE GRAFFITI MAGNET, HAS UNDERGONE A RESET

Bety

The John Lennon wall is located in the heart of the Old Town, just a few steps away from the Charles Bridge. Once an ordinary wall, since 1980s more and more graffiti inspired by the Beatles appeared there. Are you wondering why the John Lennon wall is in Prague although Lennon himself never visited Prague? John Lennon was a hero to the young people of Central and Eastern Europe during the totalitarian era. Western songs were banned by Communists especially Lennon’s music because he sang about the freedom that did not exist here. After Lennon’s death in 1980, some people decide to express their feelings by painting pictures inspired by him on the wall. This young generation was risking imprisonment for these activities. The Communist government repeatedly tried to whitewash over the pictures and lyrics but they could never manage to keep the wall clean.

At the first glance you might have thought that it is like any other graffiti-covered wall you have seen many times before. But this one was special thanks to its history.  The wall has a particularly significant meaning for the local population, it has also been a global symbol of resistance against the Communist regime.

Unfortunately, the wall was recently painted over, leaving just a single message “The Wall is over”, replacing decades of layered mural work. One of the artist insisted the whitewashing was “an art project”, not an act of vandalism. The piece was intended to work as a tribute to Lennon, referring to the popular song Happy Xmas [War is Over], and a celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

While the intentions behind this action may have been good, replacing decades of layered mural work disappointed a lot of people. Fortunately it did not take long for others to take advantage of the free space and start filling the Lennon Wall with tags, drawings and poems again.

Final note from us: We would like to know your opinion. Please share with us your thoughts. Do you think that whitewashing the Lennon Wall offers a free space for the messages of rising generation or this action destroyed significant global symbol of fighting against communism? We are so keen to discus this topic with you.

 

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