It’s been a year of massive upheaval across the globe, with revolutions toppling governments in the Middle East and protesters railing against economic conditions in the West. The complaints are varied and the outcomes in most cases still uncertain. From Tahrir Square to Tripoli, Athens to Oakland, many of the protesters marched with handmade and handheld signs to communicate their message. But some chose a longer-lived form of expression: graffiti.
The artists are generally anonymous, and their work can disappear with a new coat of paint. Graffiti can take the form of a single word, or a full-blown mural. Either way, the protester’s feelings are transmitted to the viewer immediately and viscerally. In a year full of turmoil, graffiti has as much to say about life and politics as any other speech.
Here is a selection of some of the best political graffiti from 2011.