Prague’s Lennon Wall has new regulations banning graffiti as it converts into a professional outdoor gallery. As a symbol of free expression, the Wall is monitored by cameras and police to avoid vandalism and obscene paintings.
The wall will undergo a renovation that should be finished by November 17, in time for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. Spray painting will be forbidden and the wall will become a canvas for murals created only by professional artists.
“The wall will still carry on the legacy it had had so far, but in an artistic spirit. We are also planning an information campaign on its history,” said Prague 1 Deputy Mayor Petr Hejma, according to daily Lidové Noviny.
Since 1980, the wall has been home to John Lennon inspired graffiti, poems, and lyrics from Beatles’ songs. It symbolizes freedom of expression, resistance to communist-era surveillance and universal ideals, such as love and peace.
Located in Kampa, on the grounds of the Embassy of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the wall has been maintained since the death of former Beatle John Lennon. Recently, they started to be concerned if the wall still preserves its original meaning, considering the big number of tourists drawing vulgar images.
In 2014, a group of students painted the wall white and wrote the phrase “Wall is over” as a pun on the Lennon’s 1970s campaign War Is Over. The painting didn’t last long since people covered it with other graffiti and lyrics of Beatles’ songs.
“I agree about unauthorized graffiti on buildings and other objects. In Prague, there are specially designed places for street artists where they can paint anything. But the Lennon Wall was a symbol of freedom, this was its whole meaning,” said Kate, the owner of @praguetoday – the most known Instagram page of daily Prague lifestyle.
Millions of tourists visit the wall every year in the hope of being a part of John’s history. Prague’s Lennon Wall inspired similar walls in Hong Kong during recent pro-democracy protests filled with messages related to freedom of expression.
Featured image by Raymond Johnston.