I loved the idea of everyone putting up pictures of them holding a piece of paper with 'Remember Rohingya' written across it. This immediately reminded me of the creative brainstroming session at the last RB meeting where I mentioned we should commission a graffiti artist to do a Rohingya piece for us. However I very soon realised, being a charity we have a shoe string budget and that this was highly unlikely, even more so with the graffiti artists I had in mind. Although I had very little public graffiti experience, I thought I’d have a go :)
It was a super sunny Sunday (12th August 2012). I casually grabbed a local newspaper which labelled the Rohingya's as 'The ugly face of Myanmar' and cut it up to make a stencil. Once done, I initially set out to do this in Mile End; however Mobien being the badass he is reminded me that his pops owns Bangla Town and we could use their wall, making all of this completely legal! Although the illegalness would have been super cool and risky, it was better to stay safe… for now!
The location had been set (Opposite Atlantis Art Materials, Hanbury Street, London E1) and fortunately being a Sunday it was thriving with members of the public threading in and out of the many markets and vintage stores. With the stencil for ‘R’ in place I began spraying and already had an audience. Many people walked past and wanted to indulge in conversation and luckily Mobien was there to inform passers-by about what we as a charity do and more importantly raise awareness on the Rohingya issue. Four letters in and we were stopped by the PO-lice (it was inevitable, preordained even!). The officers main worry was that it was illegal and it would be offensive. He noted down our details and after a short discussion which involved the owner of Bangla Town, he was more than happy to let us continue. Though it wasn’t long till we were stopped again, this time by four officers! Having said this, they seemed to understand and almost appreciate what we were doing a lot quicker and were soon on their way, letting me complete the spraying uninterrupted.
Graffiti done, we decided to take lots of posey posey pictures and scrutinise and stare at the graffiti whilst stroking our chins to appear intelligent and cultured, as you do!
Also, I have a new stencil. A faster stencil. Stencil 2.0. I made it yesterday. It makes doing the business a lot easier and quicker. I have decided from now on, there will be a new place which gets defaced (insert good antonym for defaced) every weekend. Pictures will be on my facebook if you wish to see/use.