Among the many events commemorating Europe Day this year, Signs of Europe was certainly one of the most original. The event, organized on 7-9 May by the city of Turin and il Cerchio e le Gocce , an association promoting graffiti writing and street art, in collaboration with poets from Opiemme , has seen three scarred walls in the Italian city given a new lease of life, splashed with colours and awe-inspiring quotes from the EU's founding fathers and other visionary men and women.
As famously said by Professor Keating in the film Dead Poets Society, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world”, and the EU’s 50th anniversary graffiti was intended to do just that. The event takes the debate on Europe out of the ivory towers of the EU and right onto the street.
Quotes were selected in a workshop involving school pupils and a young poet, and included words from Jean Monnet, Albert Einstein, Saint Augustine, William Faulkner, as well as many others chosen to give voice to young people’s thoughts on Europe.
“The event has been hard to organize” said il Cerchio e Le Gocce’s Danzio Bonavia. “There was enthusiasm from the city fathers, passers by and local business. Now we hope the graffiti will become a tourist attraction for the city.” By recognising the value of street art, the city of Turin has proved that Einstein’s renowned claim - “it is more difficult to break down a prejudice than an atom” - is not always true.