Anti-graffiti steps for economic gain
By JASON DOM
IN our urban centres today it seems a fence secures a property within but presents the graffiti artist a huge canvas on the outside.
What is your stance on graffiti as you read this article?
Combating graffiti in Port Moresby has become another serious headline undertaking for the city authority as more tax payers’ money is sucked up in in cleaning contractors to clean fencing surfaces in public spaces more than once every year. If one would live to tell the tale I’m certain the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) should have a book of stories to share on this public scourge.
Unfortunately, it will not stop unless we have collective support from both private and government sectors to address it.
In 2018 NCDC rolled out a policy to take down all colorbond metal fencing in the suburbs alongside the roads and replace them with spike fencing to discourage graffiti vandalism. In doing so it presented the visiting Apec delegations a different and better view of the city.
Whether it is stylised writing of an individual or crew’s name, posters, stickers, installations, artwork or designs, graffiti has always been a contentious issue. Countries like Australia, United Kingdom and United States have adopted aggressive and expensive strategies to try and eradicate graffiti. The reason is they see vandalism as the first sign of battle in which street art was a weapon for transformation against graffiti.
Let’s look into history and see how graffiti came about and what it resembles. The word graffiti comes from the Italian language and is the plural of the word “graffito” which means “a scratch.” The earliest scratch or graffiti was created prior to written language and the first drawings on walls appeared in caves thousands of years ago.
It was to a be a sign or beginning of written language. Cueva de las Manos (The Cave of Hands), located in Santa Cruz, Argentina, offers one of the first fascinating ancient graffiti and paintings dateing from 13,000 to 9,000 BCE. (From online source.)
Over the last couple of months the National Youth Development Authority (NYDA) was having dialogues with partner stakeholders to find ways to combat graffiti. They discussed past reports of young adults and children who have been beaten and locked up in the Boroko police station cell
Some were stripped and sprayed with paint all over their bodies after they were allegedly caught doing graffiti. Those scenes have also been uploaded on social media revealing pictures of children and such images speak volumes about negligence, abuse and violence against children and youths.
Through this ongoing dialogue, the NYDA, Hope World Wide PNG and the National Capital District Active City group were of like mind on the issue of graffiti so they launched the, “Anti-Graffiti Campaign” in October last year to create opportunities for young people through which they can turn this bad behaviour into a better platform.
The aim of the campaign is to create a platform where young people would access the opportunity to showcase their talents and skills through painting, crafting, etc., and in return they can exchange their artwork for economic gain.
Last week NYDA presented a chaque to support Hope Worldwide in the implementation of its programme in NCD for the first quarter of this year. The payment is made on behalf of Port Moresby North East Youths for the purchase of materials.
NYDA director general, Joe Itaki said that as a youth entity, it had to come up with a better solution to help youths.
“We have to partner with like-minded organisations that will work directly with all youths in the city.”
Itaki said the programme would build an enabling environment for youths who are pushed out from schools and doing nothing but defacing public properties.
“We thought we would go after them, register them and provide them with paints and other necessary materials that are required for them in this programme.”
So far the partner organisation Hope World Wide PNG has collected 30 young people from the four electorates in Port Moresby to kick-start the project.
The campaign opens its doors to any interested partners and the general public to join hands to support this initiative.
With collective help we can minimise the effects of graffiti, and properly use it to advocate on arts, handcrafts, merchandising and make the city a great place to live in.
- Jason Dom is the media and communications officer at the NYDA.
Mendi school dedicated
By Rev SEIK PITOI
MONDAY, Feb 24, 2020 was a special day for the students of Enep Primary School.
Situated in an area called Munhiu in Upper Mendi, Southern Highlands, the school began its academic year with a special dedication service. It was led by the circuit minister of the United Church Upper Mendi Circuit, Rev Kamuna Sogam.
Rev Kamuna said that the school had been a government school that was established in 2014. Last year, on Dec 8, its pioneer Grade 8 students graduated. It was a historic occasion for the school!
During the graduation, however, a special handover ceremony also took place. “That was when the school was handed over by the Government to the United Church Highlands Region. The occasion was witnessed by parents, relatives and other members of the community, as well as senior officials of the education department and the church,” he said.
The decision to hand the school over to the church had been made by the school administration and the board of management at their meeting some time earlier. “They decided then to hand the school over to the church. In fact, it is an honour for the church to be responsible for the school and to cater for the spiritual needs of the students and teachers”, he added.
As the minister responsible for the spiritual oversight of the school, Rev Komuna decided to share his homily on the topic of ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God’, taken from Matthew 6:33. He said that phrase would become the motto for the school.
“I want this motto to guide the school teachers and students in all aspects of spiritual, mental and physical development. I urge everyone to make sure that the will and purposes of God must be carried out in the school,” he said.
Enep Primary School is now a church-run school and it will remain under the pastoral care of the minister and his pastoral team.
The Highlands Region of the United Church has been blessed with hard working ministers like Rev Komuna who are taking the challenge to reach out into the schools to instil Christian principles and build young impressionable lives on the sure foundation of the word of God.