Banksy

Street art in Dublin

As I wandered the streets I came across several beautiful street art stencils and frescos. Soon enough, I found myself walking down the smallest of allies and scanning sides of buildings for more. I have never seen so much public street art so forwardly interlaced into a city’s look. It is literally everywhere, not just graffiti but art. Even New Orleans let Banksy stencils go to waste.

My first encounter was on College Street where two sad looking mimes mirror each others nostalgic frowns. I took a cigarette break from the noisy Grogans pub and walked around the block. I encountered a fallen angel rumored to be stenciled by Banksy himself. Her eyes portray pain from loss either of someone, something or she herself is lost in the streets.

My overall interpretation of the street art movements is a positive one. These murals portray social commentary in some way shape or form. The sensations one gets from seeing one of these stencils are the most on target with the artists motives if put into the context of the city. I found more than one religious references within the art around Dublin. The fallen angel could be seen as a symbol of despair related to the prejudices and divide between Protestants and Catholics in Northern versus southern Ireland.

Another religious reference I found was one of my favorites. A stencil of what looks like the angel of death looms over a deadened street about fifteen meters up the side of a building next to the Andrews Lane Theater. On the same street, three sisters with black tears and running make-up eyes closed. Both of these I found by accident but I was pleasantly surprised by the detail and state of both murals.

Some more works I found were a combination of phrases spray-painted, small rainbow lips hidden on the wall of a shadowed ally, and giant colorful captions of animals and men. I came across a very narrow ally that said “I’d rather trust a dealer on a poorly lit street than a criminal in a three piece suit” this reminded me of the hype during the Occupy Wall-street movement but it could also represent the Southern Irish relationship with the English. The English were always the wealthier, the more prim and proper if you will and they weren’t perceived to be serving Irelands best interest. Another piece I found similar to this theme was a mural of a bull that threw off its rider. Perhaps the bull could be seen as Ireland throwing England off its back.

The meaning of these works are not all clear but I do believe that is the purpose of the artist. Interpreting Dublin’s street art requires a proper sense of the context of the city, the city’s history, as well as its current state. I highly recommend seeing these in person, I had quite the adventure!

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