Culture: A picture of a picture.

This week’s photo challenge caused me a serious problem. The title is culture. I was confused, as culture for me is a hotchpotch of different ideas I couldn’t quite put my finger on, let alone illustrate or immortalise in a picture. What exactly is culture? How is it defined? Can one picture alone express the essence of culture?

I hesitated a long time before finally going out in the rain to take this photo yesterday. The derelict gymnasium in our village has been decorated by young local street artists. They are talented, and their culture will inspire until it is either replaced by another painting, or the wall disappears.

On the wall, once constructed for a purpose and now a reuseable concrete support for expression, there is this artistic contribution to culture. The depiction of the culture we may leave for our youngsters: a landscape of broken, half-demolished buildings that were once the pride of their workers. The bleak prospect of a monochrome world where the sky alone provides colour and warmth.  The harmonica-playing man looks out at you. His  eyes speak volumes about the sad world he has been painted into, asking for help to escape into the green grass of the real world that tickles his knuckles……..

Copyright Multifarious meanderings.

Copyright Multifarious meanderings.

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24 thoughts on “Culture: A picture of a picture.

    • Thanks :-) They are very talented artists- not just for the techniques, but for the ideas they portray. So many people walk past their work every day, but few of them actually stop to “read” the story on the wall.

  1. Your thoughts of wall murals were the same as mine. However, wall murals do not always have to be bleak, they can create interest. I think all factories and industrial buildings should have wall art – make our lives a little more cheerful.

    • They’ve done a fabulous job, and funnily enough the local kids haven’t touched their work with their spray-cans. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the building, but I’m happy with the way it’s being used…

      • Thanks! I was most disappointed: I listened to her, and explained gently with the use of every conditional in the book to soften the blow that I didn’t need her services, and she didn’t even let me finish the sentence and slammed the phone down on me. Nasty lady. I clicked the link for you post, but it rewarded me with “a number 404 error. I don’t think your blog likes me, but I will follow it (in a non-cold caller, non slamming the phone down way) and see if it gets over its emotions ;-)

  2. A striking and thought-provoking image, which sadly reflects what has been done to too much of our world. I love the fact that these walls are made available for this kind of artistic expression, but it would surely be even better if the derelict gym could be replaced by an amenity the community really needs.

    • Thanks, Miss P! I would love the building to be used for the school or the old people’s home that is nearby, but it’s now within a no-construction zone due to (extremely unlikely) flooding possibilities. French nonsensical law means that they can repair it and it remains, or they can demolish it but not rebuild. Work that one out!

      • Doh! I gave up trying to understand the French legal/administrative mind soon after we bought our French house. Sigh….

  3. Is the grass real or painted – I can’t tell? I hope it’s real as it looks as if it’s crept into the picture, threatening to brighten up the life of the old man.

    • The grass IS real, and it’s the brightest colour in the picture. It fits in, in a very strange way…. It grew after they painted the wall, and it grew at the darkest end of the picture… as you say, it was a good move. Freaky, huh?

  4. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture | Humbled Pie

    • I totally agree- when graffiti is intelligent art, I welcome it. But when it’s immature plebs with long hair spraying anarchist slogans on local architecture with cans of paint funded by their dole money, I hate it.

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