Amina Tawasil

Enter Graffiti: Hanging out with Graffiti Writers During the Covid Pandemic

On April 2020, the New York City graffiti cleanup program was suspended, and a moratorium was placed on the NYPD response to graffiti reports, in order to channel policing efforts towards the COVID-19 crisis. This, along with empty streets, and closed non-essential businesses, the city became an open canvas for graffiti writers. I decided to hang out with many of them. While some writers expressed the experience as therapeutic in the many ways possible, others saw their work as a form of resistance against a system marked by gross inequalities the pandemic had exposed. Often, these rationales blended together.

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