Help stop graffiti vandalism


GRAFFITI is not only offensive to the public eye but also costs quite a fortune for business and urban authorities.
The kind of graffiti referred to here is the unintelligible scrawling on walls or fences in cities and towns.
The more artistic or poetic form of graffiti in some ways enhances the aesthetic beauty of public spaces and can be excused.
One of the worst cases of such vandalism is done on billboards bearing important public safety and health information and awareness.
For instance, authorities in the past months put up banners bearing images of famous Papua New Guineans and sporting heroes who have been role models to many young people and an inspiration to even the older generations.
But in a matter of days, the banners were defaced with graffiti and betel nut stain. This extremely disrespectful behaviour and those responsible should be ashamed of themselves.
Businesses, municipal governments and private property owners have for years suffered at the hands of an unknown army of mostly young men who have caused havoc on nicely painted walls and other surfaces that are open to the public’s eye.
They operate mostly in the cover of darkness when no one is around.
In the national capital, the scourge of graffiti is everywhere.
Despite attempts and appeals to stop this behaviour over the years, very little has changed.
Walls not only secure properties within but also present graffiti vandals a huge canvas on the outside.
The capital city’s walls of stone, concrete, metal or wood have been defaced at the first opportunity by nocturnal artists.
And quite a sum of money has no doubt been spent on cleaning and scrubbing.
Graffiti is a blatant disrespect to property owners and removing or preventing it, like security, is an added cost forced on business and government.
But graffiti can also be harnessed to some advantage.
In May 2014, the city was set out to do that.
The Keep Port Moresby Colourful Campaign, supported by the Australian High Commission and the National Capital District Commission, was aimed at tackling the ugly defacing of walls all over the city.
It was to be used to employ the creative skills of the city’s youth to add colour and life to dreary wall surfaces or those already marred by illegal graffiti.
A group of artists started off with a much bigger aim than the other graffiti artists who are only intent on outwitting each other.
This group used their creative skills to better the face of the city with the use of spray paint in a legal and creative manner.
The work done in 2014 had been scraped of and there is now another fresh display of colourful art on the same wall along the Waigani Drive.
One does not have to be an art expert to appreciate the impact of the colourful wall.
The group of artists has transformed it from a dull grey concrete surface bearing some random tagging to something truly artistic.
With the continued support of government agencies and corporate citizens, such an approach can help turn graffiti art into something positive that would liven up Port Moresby or any other urban centre in the country.
The ubiquitous graffiti in Port Moresby and other centres is the work of restless and bored youth who may be craving attention and recognition.
Their artistic ability and energy can be harnessed for their own good and to benefit their communities.
It is something government agencies and even the corporate sector can collectively address.
But governments and businesses can only achieve so much.
It is up to everyone else to help reduce or eradicate this disgusting form of vandalism.