In some cities in Europe Graffiti has been deemed illegal. Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin and London are some of them. With graffiti being part of the streetscape and the most popular street art, Banksy arrived in Stockholm this weekend to showcase. But, unfortunately, Banksy is not welcome in Sweden.
The ruling conservative party doesn’t see graffiti as an art for and has banned it from the streets and galleries. They don’t even allow it display in posters. This means that Banksy will not be able to go ahead with his exhibition.
Bansky’s art is respected all over the world. The controversial artist has proved that graffiti is an established art and accepted form. But now, since his arrival in Sweden, his work is highlighting the politician’s fears. It also raises debates about graffiti and street art in general.
In 2007, the City Council of Stockholm adopted a zero-tolerance policy that took aim at one single art form. The policy clearly states that the city shall not engage in or support activities that promote graffiti and other vandalism.
This has put a stop to several art projects. The Stockholm City Museum had to cancel its street art tour, and schools with a culture profile in the Stockholm neighborhoods of Bromma and Farsta had to close down their graffiti workshops. This resulted in loss to their profits as well.
The conservative majority in Stockholm spreads a view on culture that forbids rather than encourages freedom of expression. However, with the efforts of artists and opposition we hope one day Banksy and other street artists will be welcome in Sweden too.