Writing on the wall
Updated: 2013-08-25 09:23
By Wu Ni (China Daily)
The University of Shanghai for Science and Technology's roughly 500-meter graffiti wall is divided into sections. Photos by Wu Ni / China Daily
Shanghai's graffiti artists are given new legal canvasses as municipal tourism authorities list spray-painted walls among the city's official travel attractions. Wu Ni reports in Shanghai.
Shanghai's graffiti artists are being encouraged to spray what they want to say on several university walls the Shanghai Tourism Administration recently listed as tourist attractions.
The walls of many universities, such as Shanghai Jiaotong University, Tongji University, Fudan University and the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology (USST), have long been covered with their creations.
The schools even whiten the walls once or twice a year to create new canvasses.
USST's graffiti wall is divided into several sections, totaling about 500 meters. The student dormitory building is also festooned with spray-painted imagery.
Residents and tourists flocks to the increasingly acclaimed wall to snap photos, graduate Yang Yun says.
"We're proud of the wall," she says.
"I stop to check for new works when I walk past. I'm amazed at some of the young artists' amazing ideas."
The wall is whitewashed before every summer vacation so art graduates can cover it with new works.
About 20 images coat Tongji University's 100-meter-long wall.
A university spokesman says the school leaves the wall for students to express themselves.
Shanghai Jiaotong University's graffiti wall stretches about 500 meters.
Many of its works have commemorative themes. Poems and cartoons depict students' reluctance to bid their classmates farewell and portray highlights from their school experiences.
The wall became acclaimed in 2011, after a student painted a graphic image of a skull and a train following the major railway accident in Zhejiang province's Wenzhou. The image went viral online.
On the graffiti wall near the campus of Fudan University, young artists painted exaggerated images of fairy tales, landscapes and calligraphic creation in bright and contrast colors.
Three locations in the city's celebrated art districts have also been made available for graffiti.
The best known among these is the 600-meter-long graffiti wall on Moganshan Road next to M50 Gallery.
Shanghai Normal University junior Xu Yuyue says the wall stunned her the first time she saw it.
"The scene is made more dramatic by a deserted factory nearby," she says.
"The themes are richer, the scale is greater and the works are more interesting than those of the university walls," she says.
The 500-meter-long graffiti wall on Tian'ai Road in Hongkou district is famous for lovers, who declare their romances in spray paint. Animals dominate the graffiti wall on Wenshui Road in Zhabei district.
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(China Daily 08/25/2013 page15)