Call to Action: Underground Art & Graffiti

09 January 2012

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Exit to Waterloo Station, Leake Street, London.Exit to Waterloo Station, Leake Street, London.

Well it’s week 2 of 2012 and we are keeping underground and exploring hidden art and graffiti, or are we looking at underground graffiti and art?  Maybe both, you decide.

Leake Street sits above the underground train lines but below the overground train lines at Waterloo Station.  It arrived on my radar as I wandered past one day in 2008 and discovered a very long queue.  Curiosity got the better of me and I asked someone in the line what was going on.  It turned out it was the “Can Festival” and the graffiti artist Banksy had transformed the disused tunnel into an exhibition.  I was never much of a graffiti art lover but later that weekend I came back and after a short time waiting in the line walked into the other underground world and was bombarded with some amazing art and social commentary.

It has stayed an authorised graffiti zone and to this day is ever changing.  Pedestrians who journey to and from Waterloo Station to the old City Hall buildings travel through the ever evolving gallery of graffiti and art.  All sorts of people walk through here every day, from business people to homeless people, mothers with babies in prams, joggers, sight seers, and local residents heading home.   

It was part of my journey to work for a long time. I loved how the tunnel and it’s art would jolt my senses as I walked in and there would be images that would stand out and capture my attention and make my train of thought change track for a moment or maybe for the rest of the journey to work.  It was always changing and there were hundreds of stories locked inside the images and tags on the wall of tunnels of which I only really understood a fraction of.  There was another culture in this tunnel that seemed to be commenting on the world above it.  I wonder what will be made of the art and the history of this tunnel in 100 years’ time and what it’ll say about our rapidly evolving heritage.

So here’s to a week of discovering artistic endeavours, underground art and the social commentary of graffiti.

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