Thursday, April 09, 2009

Imagine, this is not here - Prague's John Lennon Wall

We're still settling down from the excitement of Sunday, with occasional lapses back to bubbly when a new story pops, or another cool photo gets unearthed. One of our friends who talked to both the Obamas had a story posted on (a fun fashion blog I'm partial to. Go, check it out!), and yesterday we were the lucky recipients of a picture of Caroline waving at President Obama as he shook hands after the speech. I'll post that picture as soon as I get permission from the photographer.

But April weekends aren't just about Presidential drop-ins. No, this last weekend we also celebrated from afar the birthday of Will's sister, Meg. We had just mailed her one of our favorite illustrated books - The Wall: Growing up behind the Iron Curtain, by Peter Sis - and I wanted to make sure I had the latest view of the book's main character. So Saturday we took a tram to just below the castle stairs and wandered through the little alleys connecting the mainland to Kampa Island until we found just the street we wanted.

John Lennon wall, Kampa, Prague 
Running along Velkopřevorské náměstí, not far from the Charles Bridge, this is the wall where Czech kids and the communist regime of the late 1980s clashed over graffiti and freedom of expression, just before another wall fell. Its name, the John Lennon Wall, comes from the tradition of having a portrait of Lennon, lyrics from his songs, or as you see above, a peace sign with Imagine painted into it. Today anyone can write on the wall, it isn't illegal, and when tourists come to visit they often do.

These pictures are for Meg, to show her what that wall looked like last Saturday, and to show you the most famous Czech graffiti spot of them all. Happy Birthday Meg!!


Barrett Bonden said...

There's a passion about Czech graffiti that I've not noticed elsewhere. And in this case, a delicate sense of protocol. Later works overlap the earlier but don't obliterate them. I've raised this before: would it be considered sneaky if you came upon graffiti-ist at work and you photographed him/her? In a sense it would betray the principles of this art form: graffiti has no gestation, it is simply born - suddenly.

Julia said...

I'd love to take a picture of a graffiti artist at work, but so far no chance. Mostly I imagine they work at night, so the flash might give me away!

countrypeapie said...

I can't tell you how much I enjoy that book! And I can share it with the kids, too. Your pictures of the wall are a colorful complement to the illustrations in the book. Thank you so much.

I am in awe over the pictures of C and Obama. I grow so emotional in my old age! ;)

poppy fields said...

A cool wall. I don't know if you do tags, but I tagged you if you do.

Joan said...

I did an entry for you :)