Wall Painting as Means of Expressing Ethnic Identity
Svetlana Strinyuk, Associate Professor at the School of Foreign Languages at HSE Perm, presented a report ‘Identity through Violence Aestheticization: murals in Derry and Belfast’ at the 5th international conference CONTEMPART 2016. The conference was dedicated to issues of urban identity, urban space and contemporary art and took place in Istanbul.
During the presentation Svetlana spoke about the artistic expression of ethnic, political and religious identity, in particular about a specific form of contemporary urban art – murals.
Mural paintings of political and religious content often appear in cities with communities divided by political, ethnic and religious conflicts (Derry and Belfast in Northern Ireland, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus in Palestine, different cities of the Basque Country, etc.). Mural painting is usually part of a public political discourse, it not only helps to deliver political messages in image form, but it also provides a memorial of the conflict, trauma, and historic victories in the urban space.
Another important function of political murals is to serve as a spatial marker of the divided political and ethnic and religious communities. Thus, in regions with serious civil conflicts, murals serve as a means for visual enhancement and legitimisation of violence.
The report was prepared based on the results of a study conducted as part of the HSE Academic Fund Programme, as well as the programme of state support of leading Russian universities in order to improve their competitiveness among leading research and educational centres.