A piece of graffiti or the mark of Satan?
The American artist Shepard Fairey with his Obey Giant posters.
Fairey’s t-shirt bears the slogan Do Not Cross. Portrait: Elizabeth Daniels
“Vandalism” at the Chinese Methodist Church in Taiping brought out the DAP’s Nga Kor Ming, MP for Taiping, to fuss about an “image of ‘Satan’ painted on the gatepost” and an inverted cross in an image sprayed on the rear wall.
The only problem with the complaint is that the image on the gate is the Shepard Fairey image of Andre the Giant, which Fairey turned into the Obey Giant in little 2-inch square stickers which he plastered everywhere in 1989. Eventually they spread and caught on and made Fairey famous.
Fairey is now better known for his series of revolutionary-style propaganda poster campaigns, and as the artist behind Barack Obama’s election campaign posters. His poster of Aung Sang Suu Kyi adorns the front page here (top right).
And this year he illustrated the cover of Time magazine’s Person of the Year issue.
Whoever spray-painted Andre the Obey Giant on the church’s gatepost might have fancied himself as a bit of Banksy, the British street artist. And also, perhaps, knowledgeable enough about anti-establishment resistance movements to choose the Obey Giant image.
There was also a “Moth” logo on the back wall of the church, and although that was also seen to be anti-Christian, it appears to be more like a piece of album art typical of heavy metal or indie bands, who are known for outlandish album cover art.
I mean, look at it! Two grim reapers, an inverted cross, spider webs, a pentagram and cryptic fonts. It’s kind of the modernized mutation of Death’s logo, huh? What more could you want from a band logo? — from a blog about indie bands
It’s ironic that the church in Taiping and the DAP’s Nga saw anti-Christian propaganda in a piece of anti-establishment graffiti. After all, Shepard Fairey also created artwork for the Occupy movement against corruption.
Is street art and graffiti the equivalent of vandalism? Perhaps, depending on circumstances. Inappropriate for a church? Proabably, depending on circumstances. But the graffiti in Taiping brought together an icon of resistance street art, heavy metal band, and propaganda. A work of political dissent, perhaps? It was no yob who did that.
- Shepard Fairey creates Occupy Hope, challenges Obama to represent the average American (busblog.tonypierce.com)
- 10 of the Greatest Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns of All-Time (neatorama.com)
- the day I met Shepard Fairey (filespnr.com)
- Shepard Fairey beaten up after spat over controversial Danish mural (guardian.co.uk)