Although back in the day, no house was complete without a garden in front and a patch of kitchen garden in the back as well as and a few essential big trees -- like a pair of coconut trees to meet household consumption, along with a spattering of guava or lemon, one or two mango trees and even a jackfruit plant. Then the time came when the price of land surpassed that of gold many times over, and the race to fully grab all habitable land space grew, every inch being cordoned off from the rest. These walls spoke about the owners. We have seen walls that totally block the view from a house. So the purpose of these outer boundary walls, in most cases, was to mark ownership as well as take care of the security issue. The low height walls of old times were not to block the views of the onlookers, but to make the whole building aesthetically pleasing, added to by well nurtured gardens, manicured lawns, as well as the children playing in them. Then the fort like houses invaded, taking over almost the whole city, marred by boundary walls up to 7-10 feet high!
I wish to document the art on city walls through the medium of photography. As I travel along the streets of Kingston with my camera, I observe the development in artistic skill. Street [End Page 184] images can have a huge impact, since much consideration is given to the use of colors, forms, rendering techniques, and image sizes. Primed walls covered with bright primary colors are becoming significant eye-catchers in just about any area (fig. 1). Children under the guidance of talented adults are now involved in these wall painting exercises, and while the stories behind the images are often jumbled, the colors are bright, giving some hope and light to the areas in which they are painted.
Communities will pay artists to have an event advertised or to have some outstanding story told in colorful imagery, including representations of men gunned down under whatever circumstances. In these instances the walls become oversize death announcements, providing the same function as the death column in the newspaper, but more people from the area get a firsthand opportunity to appreciate the message. It is up to the artist to create an image that adequately depicts the dead person, and the sheer size, placement, and colors of the image can have a powerful impact, similar to that of a monument designed for a hero. Since there are no enforced regulations restricting the freedom of these artists, image sizes are becoming larger and far more imposing, and are now appearing in places outside of the small lane or the corner where people hang out. Death announcements are now painted on some major thoroughfares (fig. 2). 781b155fdc