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The story behind the walls of Athens

In the early 1990s a new phenomenon introduced itself among the youngsters of Athens, imported straight from New York’s streets. Graffiti was the upcoming trend, meant to leave an indelible mark in the city through the years. Recently, the growing intensity of political events in the country, along with the special role that Greece plays in the European crisis have fueled the domestic street art scene and even attracted foreign artists - thus consolidating Athens as the contemporary Mecca of street art.

Aiming to better understand graffiti as a contemporary urban phenomenon, this tour travels though graffiti’s history, always keeping Athenian walls as the starting point. Beginning from Exarheia and the world of the early writers, we will continue to explore selected parts of Psyrri  and the emergence of street art. The walk ends after a brief visit to Metaxourgeio where we'll discuss the politics of a subculture gone mainstream.

“I am humbled by the destructive and creative nature in us all. This is what keeps me painting.” - Faith47

Text & Route: George Papamatthaiakis

Image: Yannis Zaras

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