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During our recent one-day visit to South Beach, Miami, Florida, (a first-time visit for me), we decided to “see” the city via the MetroMover Transit system. It was a great experience… enjoying the views from above and planning ideas of where to visit next.
One thing that caught my attention during this ride was the graffiti and wall art that we saw on some of the buildings. They all have a message; a feeling of expression.
This message, this expression can be seen everywhere… and I like the idea that if we look long enough, every place, every country has an example of this expression of art…
But wherever we see these expressions, it always reminds me of a visit to Gainesville, Florida where, as we drove by, we were told the story of the (retaining) wall referred to as the “34th Street Wall” or the “Memorial Wall“. Although the act of graffiti is illegal, it is typically accepted on this specific length of wall, which is either attempted to be repainted white, seemingly as a fresh start to express again, or painted over by new artistic expressions.
Gainesville’s most public diary stretches across 1,120 feet of concrete along Southwest 34th Street. A typical highway retaining wall, the 34th Street Wall arches up to 24 feet. It was built by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in 1979 when 34th Street was widened from two to four lanes.
~UF Messages on the Wall
Although the wall contains messages, advertisements, local and national support, art, expressions of both love and hate, there is a section of the wall that has become a permanent fixture; a memorial for the “victims of the most brutal murders in Gainesville’s history“. It is the name of the five (5) students that were murdered in 1990, with the powerful message… “We Remember“. It is this section of the wall that gets preserved and repainted regularly, always with the same message, with the names of these victims, in red, black and white… and more recently saying “Remember 1990“.
And it is something that is remembered…
There are many different websites and personal pages highlighting this Wall, what it means to people, the history behind it or behind a given message or even showing updated photos of the Wall and its messages… but one of my favourites is the blog “Sleepless in Gainesville“. Here, throughout the regular blog posts, there are photo essays of the updated wall expressions during her daily walks. And as I don’t know when I’ll be visiting again, it’s quite interesting to see what’s been painted next.
Anyways, here are some other examples of Walls of expression from:
*South Beach Miami, Florida:
*And from Manaus, Brasil:
Where have you seen the best wall expressions?
Share with us below 🙂