Sunday, 6 March 2016

physical graffiti

I don’t often travel into town nowadays, but when I do, my attention is always drawn to the wall of an industrial building just north of Tai Wai station, which is covered in urban graffiti. I resolved to take a closer look, and last week I cycled down from Fanling to see whether there was anything worth photographing. There was.

In almost every case, I find it almost impossible to read the ‘words’ painted on the wall, but I certainly see aesthetic qualities in the examples below. And there is no doubt that a lot of work has gone into these creations. The first photo is a general view looking back along the wall, which I took after working my way along from the far end and shooting what I thought were the best ones.

The next five photos are selected examples of the graffiti along the wall. The first graffito appears to have been painted over a pre-existing artwork, parts of which remain visible on each side, while the image in the second photo has vaguely topological elements, as if suggestive of some kind of maze. In the third photo, note the words ‘Yumo Xeme’, which you might think is pure gibberish, but I’ve seen the same words, in exactly the same style, in another location, and I suspect that this is the nom de guerre of the otherwise anonymous artist.

As I was in the area, I thought that I might see where the cycle track running alongside the wall led to. The usual dead end. I often wonder what cyclists are expected to do in such circumstances, because there are only two options: either cycle on the sidewalk or join the motor traffic on a busy road. Neither is a desirable option, but there is a third, which is the one I took: go back the way I came.

The detour wasn’t entirely a waste of time. I passed a concrete bridge abutment that had more examples of graffiti emblazoned on it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to photograph everything I wanted to here, because the battery in my camera had gone flat, but here are a couple of examples from this second location. I find the second image especially intriguing.

What does it all mean?

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