Tag Archives: street art

Street art in Beijing

Robbbb has only been working as a street artist for three years but identifies his role as helping to document the rapidly changing urban and social environment in Beijing. It is among the cities crumbling ruins that he feels his work belongs – “Ruins are temporary [and] so are my works but I hope they’ll leave some mark in Beijing’s history”.

At present there is no specific law against street art in China but he believes this will change in the near future as people, and the authorities, begin to understand the subversive element of the movement.

To see more of the artist’s work, visit his website HERE.


Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Graffiti on the Great Wall

Graffiti on the Great Wall, by Carolynn Look (INESAD)

October 20, 2012 (accessed March 3, 2013)

Beijing, China. Hundreds of buildings tower over the people that bustle between them every day. Some get demolished, some get rebuilt, some just get a fresh layer of paint. But what strikes you as you walk through this eclectic monster of a city is that none of its buildings are covered in tags or graffiti as they are in other metropolises. Or so you would think on first sight.

Coming from the capitol of street art in Berlin, I was astonished to see that Beijing is so “clean”. But moving away from the centre and beyond the 2nd Ring Road, graffiti starts popping up in various neighbourhoods, often with local tag artists claiming a certain territory or mobile spray-painted images immortalised (until removed) on the sides of public buses. The street art culture in Beijing is in fact a growing sphere of artistic expression: hidden, yet increasingly powerful.

The phenomenon is not as new as it first appears. According to the 2005 China Heritage Newsletter by the Australian National University (ANU), a 2004 archaeological project revealed that graffiti on the Great Wall was already popular in the 16th century, when “soldiers’ wives decorated parts of the wall with images of clouds, lotus blossoms and ‘fluffy balls’ (xiuqiu), ‘symbols of peace and love’.” Today, graffiti has come back with renewed strength, and to fulfil quite a different purpose…

Read more on INESAD

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

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