Anonymous graffiti defacing public property are leaving Kochi authorities perplexed

‘Enjoy the Void,’ read a graffiti painted in black that appeared overnight on the compound wall of a premium apartment in Vennala division of the Kochi Corporation in Kerala not so long ago.

There were a few others on walls in the immediate vicinity with messages such as ‘Are You Lost?’” and ‘This is the World You Want to Live (sic).’ And the one on the Corporation’s signboard read ‘We need peace!’

A graffiti found on a wall in Vennala division of the Kochi Corporation in Kerala recently.

A graffiti found on a wall in Vennala division of the Kochi Corporation in Kerala recently.
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Alarmed by the messages, the office-bearers of the residents’ association concerned went through the overnight CCTV footage. “We found two young-looking persons in their shorts painting the messages using brushes in the traditional style, such as in the case of election graffiti around 4 a.m. Election posters of the candidates of all three fronts were also found defaced, while a curse in English was scribbled on the picture of Narendra Modi featured in the NDA candidate’s poster. We have since then alerted the division councillor who said the matter had been taken up with the Palarivattom police,” said an office-bearer of the association on condition of anonymity.

Graffiti of a different kind has appeared in many parts of Maradu municipality, and even Thripunithura municipality since then. The word ‘Sick’ was found spray-painted complete with a crown-like emblem in a similar manner on signboards, beneath bridges, abandoned vehicles, and telecom property at many places.

A graffiti found on a wall in Vennala division of the Kochi Corporation in Kerala recently.

A graffiti found on a wall in Vennala division of the Kochi Corporation in Kerala recently.
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

“We have lodged a petition with the police after it reached a point where many of the municipal boards and properties were found defaced by such graffiti. Attempts to remove these also failed as it seemed painted with some kind of chemicals. We doubt these may be the handiwork of substance abusers as it seemed to be done at odd hours,” said Maradu municipal chairperson Antony Ashanparambil.

District Police Chief (Kochi City) S. Syamsundar said the possibility of substance abusers being behind the nuisance cannot be ruled out. He said that the matter will be probed.

Banksy copycat act suspected

T.A. Satyapal, former head of the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, said it could be an instance of copycat act, albeit in a negative way, by anti-social elements influenced by Banksy, a U.K.-based graffiti artist who uses anonymous graffiti art in public spaces to convey some message.

“We are living in an age when artists can be hired. In this case, anarchist movements or organisations could have hired artists for the messaging,” he said.

Graffiti found on a signboard in Kochi Corporation. 

Graffiti found on a signboard in Kochi Corporation. 
| Photo Credit:
M.P. Praveen

In 2022, graffiti was found painted on the side of the bogey of a metro train parked on the yard at Kalamassery at night. The graffiti, supposedly written using spray paint, read “First Hit Kochi, Burn Play,” had then raised the spectre of security threat to the metro. However, the police later dubbed it as an act of mischief.

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