Resistance on the walls, reclaiming public space: Street art in times of political turmoil in Turkey | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1757-2681
  • E-ISSN: 1757-269X



This article is based on our research, in which we examine the interplay between political protest and street art practices in Turkey with specific reference to the recent ‘Occupy Gezi’ movement and its aftermath. We propose to conceive street art as a participatory political practice with a full range of different forms and styles (graffiti, stencils, posters, installations, performances, etc.), which employs three interconnected strategies: (1) utilizing urban public space as a privileged site of political visibility; (2) renegotiating the boundaries between art, political activism, and communication; (3) inviting its audience to engage in political agency. Our research necessarily takes into account methods of reapproprating and disseminating works of street art – particularly via digital media, which, in this era of networked social movements, serve to expand the scope of public space from the streets to online communities. After tracing the blossoming of street art in Turkey within the creation of an oppositional political aesthetics from the 1970s to the present day – in the historical context of a changing political milieu – we analyse the specific case of the Gezi Park protests, where street art became visible for a wider public and significantly contributed to the rebellious character of the movement in distinct ways.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Gezi Park; graffiti; political protest; street art; Turkey; urban space
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