Anyone has seen at least one graffito: a signature on the wall (tag), a message between lovers, a cry of dissent, an act of vandalism, a work of art. Graffiti are everywhere, and it seems like they have getting more and more popular every day. Turn around a corner and you will see one.

But how do we consider them?
At the very beginning of this trend, very contradictory ideas emerged: was it an act of vandalism, which causes the disfigurement of other people’s things? Is it a peculiar form of art that enhances the territory?

To better understand the public opinion’s position towards graffiti we must remember the emblematic case of the internationally renowned writer “Manu Invisible”, whose street art became for the first time a case of Cassation. The artist -Sardinian origins- had to face a process in 2016 for a graffito that he made on 20th June 2011, in a railway underpass in Milan. Before the arrival of the case in the Supreme Court, the writer had already been acquitted in first and second degree of judgment. There were two fundamental points that allowed his absolution in the two processes: the wall had already been smeared with vandals and therefore the intention of defacing a clean surface was absent; the artist was well-known in his field and therefore, it would have been wrong to consider him as a common vandal animated by the purpose of damaging the underpass. “Manu Invisible” was then acquitted by the Supreme Court for the “particular softness of the fact”. 

This process is truly relevant because it provides us an indication of what graffiti represent for the community.

Nowadays, street art is very much appreciated and also in cities like Dublin there are tributes to James Joyce in the form of graffiti. Glasgow has very appreciated artist such Smug One who depicts graffiti all over the city making it more attractive and creating powerful and meaningful painting on the walls all around the city.

Art and beauty are very subjective and personal concepts, so each of us can see art in very different things under very different circumstances.

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Maria Francesca Ficarra


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