EDITORIAL — Expression walls good but have to be maintained

The Freeman
EDITORIAL � Expression walls good but have to be maintained

To counter the rising incidents of vandalism and graffiti, a Cebu City councilor is proposing assigning “art expression walls” in the different barangays.

In his proposal, Councilor Rey Gealon said he wants to create a platform for artistic individuals to express themselves and their ideas. Councilor Joel Garganera, supporting the idea, added that the proposed ordinance is also seen to curb vandalism and to maintain the cleanliness of the city.

This is actually a good idea. Many cities all over the world encourage youth to paint artwork on city walls as a way to channel their creativity and deter or cover up graffiti.

Any blank canvas doesn’t stay blank for very long. The same goes for walls that have nothing on them. Sooner or later someone will seek to make some mark just for the heck of it, or just because they have nothing else to do. Sometimes gangs also want to mark their turf with their “tags”, which is slang for territorial markers.

We don’t have to say that tags, graffiti, obscene words, and other things drawn or scrawled on walls make any place look unwelcoming and dirty. We would rather much prefer art pieces and murals take the place of these eyesores.

In our own setting this would be a good idea --if two things happen.

First, is that we clearly define was passes as “art” or “expression”. What may seem like a masterpiece to some may seem like kitsch to others. We don’t all have the same appreciation for visual art.

The wrong “art” in the right place is still something hard to look at.

Second, such a program also has to be maintained. Artwork can replace graffiti, but for how long? Vandals have a way of returning to their old stomping grounds and may very well spoil any artwork with their own.

We really don’t have to look far to see something nice that started out right but didn’t end up well, things that were otherwise good but fell to neglect. Like for example that playground in Barangay Pasil. It was only good at the start but those entrusted to take care of it didn’t.

If city officials want to make these expression walls a thing they better be ready to maintain them.

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