There are many ways to make a political statement. Some ways are violent and hurtful. Other ways are more gentle and even celebratory. Perhaps no place does the political statement as well as the murals in Northern Ireland.
While some of the murals are more graphic, ones like these promote messages of community and hope. A colorful mural including children suggests values and messages of freedom and things being better in the future.
With the advent of digital images and production of websites to promote one's political agendas it's possible that murals such as these will become a thing of the past.
World renowned artist, Banksy, continues to attract interest however with his very clever and insightful messages against wrongs. His artworks are often timed to capture the feeling of the nation or world. His effective use of simple images and words often say more than a barrage of newspaper articles or online writings. Nevertheless arguments continue about the role of street artists like Banksy and at what point they become graffitists.
These messages remind us of the value of imagery to prompt our thinking, create debates and at times make us feel uncomfortable as we are confronted by strong and powerful messages. Messages that often get to the very root of the issue.
Leunig, the Australian cartoonist, certainly does this as well. He cleverly works within the confines of an appropriate place, the newspaper, rather than in public spaces. His message can therefore be focused upon rather than a debate about whether the image should be there or not.
There's certainly something to be said about a range of voices being heard, appearing in random places, often when we least expect it.