Thursday, 21 January 2016

Curious Graffiti In Vilnius, Part One

We've shown you the plethora of graffiti in Vilnius, whether with a message or stenciled. One person's eyesore is another person's expression.  It's mostly all in fun and vandalism.

Recently, there appeared a little graffiti war in the Vilnius streets, one tinged with civic anger, one tilting a bit holy.

These little paper cut-outs have been plastered around Old Town.

Taking a closer look, the image appears to be of an immaculate nun wearing a hijab. OK.

Upon inspection, it gets a bit interesting, some handwritten scrawl along the top, telling you where the nearest church is located. It's no accident, these posted bills have been strategically and surreptitiously placed near the same church mentioned on the paper.

The name of the church changes, depending on the post's location. It's not a mass media slather campaign. Someone has taken the time to place the posts where they want and to hand-write a specific church name in English.

Meaning? One could take them as innocent, plain plea church recruitment posters. All of Europe is losing the flock, at a record pace, maybe Lithuanian churches are looking for members. 

Then you need to start thinking about the specific Lithuanian context. There aren't many muslims in the country and reaction to accepting immigrants from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries has been tepid at best. The image on the poster and the writing could be interpreted as a not-so-subtle critique of the "other" coming to the country and not embracing assimilation.

Interesting times in the streets of Lithuania. Next up, clean up the filth and garbage of graffiti. Or adding to it?

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