A cold Saturday in Lausanne last December. An easy-going father Christmas welcomes and tours me in various neighborhoods, aware of my interest in street art and more generally in public art.
The cityscape displays the remnants of the first snow fall in a rather dull light. A modest number of people in the streets, owing to the public health precautionary measures against the Covid-19 pandemic. Never mind, there is as much interesting things to observe and capture visually in the street than the curiosity of the photographer’s eye and mind. Moreover, dull light can be interpreted in a creative and attractive way throughout the photographic process.
Public art reflect any form of art created for, and made available to the general public. Street art is generally a non-permission based art. Crafted independently and staged in or near the public realm. It comprises guerrilla art, which aim to convey strong political messages to the viewers. While street art is nowadays partially gentrified through commercial practices and public policies, it remains largely an alternative artistic expression.
I documented and interpreted elements of street art in several cities across the globe such as Geneva, Paris, Athens, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Tokyo and New York. That day in Lausanne, I look for alternative and creative elements of street art as well as for mainstreamed artistic visions displayed publicly.
Le Flon neighbourhood offers a pot-pourri of streams of public art, ranging from commercial or gentrified murals or sculptures to satiric or acerb expressions of individual opinions on ethical, social or political matters. The overall picture is rather discordant but vivid and even fascinating. Mother Earth adds its natural tone to the urban palette.
In Montrion neighbourhood, my urban trekking comes across the Tricot Graffiti project. Local residents joined hands in a collective artistic project aiming to beautify trees, poles and banks of the Avenue de La Harpe. Their colorful knitting artwork intends ultimately to create a visually and socially attractive public area during the dull period of winter.
While I can’t say much about the social outcome of the project, I can confirm that my camera much interacted with the plane trees of the Avenue de la Harpe. It felt much sympathy for the community-based project which provided those trees with beautiful knitted coats against the winter cold. I wish that all homeless people across the world would benefit from such solidarity and generosity.
© 2021 Coups d'oeil et Coups de plume