Sunday, September 8, 2019

Street Art Influenced by Love and Humor

I spotted this on Laughing Squid only yesterday and although it is dated, I still want to share this!

A ragtag band of Berlin street artists decided they have had enough of seeing the hateful swastika graffiti around the German capital – and decided to respond with love and humor.

"We as street artists wanted to send the message: you're abusing graffiti", said Ibo Omari who initiated #Paintback, an empowering campaign that transforms the potent symbol of racist venom into amazing works of street art.

"Graffiti's got nothing to do with racism  it's about bright colors and diverse backgrounds" – kindly check it out here:
The swastika is actually a talisman of good fortune since millennia – but we must also acknowledge that the Nazis had perverted it into a representation of hateful racism. 

In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, swastika means "well-being". The ideogram has been used by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains for millennia. 

In fact, the swastika is more European in origin than most people realize. Archaeological finds have long demonstrated that the swastika is a very old device  and ancient examples are by no means limited to India.

A Hindu boy with a shaved head, and a giant vase at a Buddhist temple in Japan. Image credit: Alamy

Top left: Mosaic swastika in excavated Byzantine church in Shavei Tzion, Israel. Top right: A finding from the cemetery of Ancient Thera, 8th to 7th century BC. Archaeological Museum of Fira in Fira in Santorini, Greece. Images credit: CC BY-SA 3.0. Bottom: The swastika, the Phoenician sun symbol, on the Phoenician Craig-Narget stone in Wigtownshire in south-west Scotland. Image credit: Ancient Origins

It was used by the Ancient Greeks, Celts, and Anglo-Saxons and some of the oldest examples have been found in Eastern Europe, from the Baltic to the Balkans. 

And at the beginning of the 20th Century there was a huge fad for the swastika as a benign good luck hieroglyph

In his book The Swastika: Symbol Beyond Redemption? American graphic design writer Steven Heller shows how it was favored and then adopted in the West as an architectural motif, on advertising and product design. 

Twentieth century fad: Fruit packaging, a Coca-Cola pendant, and a pack of cards, all from the US. 

"Coca-Cola used it. Carlsberg used it on their beer bottles. The Boy Scouts adopted it and the Girls' Club of America called their magazine Swastika. They would even send out swastika badges to their young readers as a prize for selling copies of the magazine", he says. 

It was even used by American military units during World War One and it could be seen on RAF planes too as late as 1939. 

Most of these wholesome uses came to a halt in the 1930s when the Nazis rose to power in Germany. 

The Nazi use of the swastika stems from the work of 19th Century German scholars translating old Indian texts, who noticed similarities between their own language and Sanskrit. They concluded that Indians and Germans must have had a shared ancestry and imagined a race of white god-like warriors they called Aryans. 

This idea was seized upon by anti-Semitic nationalist groups who appropriated the swastika as an Aryan insignia to boost a sense of ancient lineage for the Germanic people. 

The black straight-armed hakenkreuz (hooked cross) on the distinctive white circle and red background of the Nazi flag would become the most hated symbol of the 20th Century, inextricably linked to the abominable atrocities and mass killings committed under Adolf Hitler's (right) Third Reich (or otherwise known as Nazi Germany).

Historians estimate the total number of innocents murdered in Europe in the years leading up to 1945 by the Nazis during the Holocaust genocide to be 11 million. The victims encompassed six million Jews and 5 million others comprising gay people, priests, Romani gypsies, people with mental illnesses, people with physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters.

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