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Thursday, 6 September 2007

Stencil Graffiti I, Tbilisi, Summer 2007

Earlier this year, on my walks around Tbilisi I began noticing a new form of graffiti on city walls. This isn't the ugly spray-painting of people's names which has marred particularly the Vake district; nor is it the sophisticated polychrome work one is usd to seeing in major American cities. Rather, it is usually one-colour images sprayed on through a stencil of some kind. Some of them are quite large, over a metre high or wide, others smaller. One wall off Melikishvili St has a whole cluster of them. I decided to record the works using my cellphone camera. They are a sign of things changing in Tbilisi, along with: new roads; the central food market's current renovation (rather hard for the 1000 or more vendors and a shock to people like me who loved shopping there); the renovation of another building where anything could be brought for repair by people in small kiosks (they're out in the cold, or the heat, again); the impending removal of the Dry Bridge open-air nostalgia and art market; and so on. The city is gradually becoming more European or western, for good or otherwise.

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