Strong and clear, the words "FREE YOURSELF" stood out amongst the colorful art work. It's a clear message but without knowing who the artist is and the meaning behind the message it's hard to know exactly what one is to free oneself from.
That's one aspect of street art that can be enjoyed, the not knowing who wrote or drew it. What they were referring to at the time. Even what they were really thinking about. Was the artist wanting to free themself or was the artist wanting to help free others? Was the artist trying to encourage us to help free others?
This is one of the great mysteries of street art. Unless you witness the artist at work, and have a conversation to check it out, you simply don't know. You can put your own interpretation on it of course. You can take a guess based on the area where the art work appears. You might guess about what a young artist might be thinking. But the truth is that you simply don't know.
This piece of street art was found in a laneway off a small street in Melbourne's CBD. It wasn't painted for everyone to see. It wasn't even there for passersby to notice. You had to enter the laneway to see it. It was at the darkened end so only an adventurous or curious soul would find it. So that might give us a clue about the meaning behind the words - not for the general public, but rather meaningful to the artist and others who congregate in this laneway.
"Free Yourself" is probably a message we can all relate to in some way. Freeing ourselves from the day to day burdens of work and home tasks, freeing ourselves from the expectations of others or our own "shoulds", can all be helpful things to do. Lifelong journeys for us in some cases are required to become free from such burdens. But of course for some people freedom means much more than that. Freedom from experiences of abuse or violence takes on a very different meaning.
Street art can provide a forum for artists to raise issues, to highlight concerns, to give voice to the voiceless. It can draw attention to issues typically unseen. It can remind us to reflect on others, to notice, to care.