Street artists all across Germany are fighting far-Right neo-Nazi views with street art, turning hateful graffiti into artistic works of inclusiveness.
The neo-Nazi graffiti, which is aimed at spreading anti-migrant propaganda as well as intimidating passersby who don’t share the same views as these groups, have been showing up in neighbourhoods all over Germany – as the far-Right movement has conquered some of these areas into becoming safe havens for neo-Nazi groups.
In the Dortsfeld District of Dortmund, or the so-called “Nazi Neighborhood,” police are supervising street artists to cover up hateful slogans, after city authorities approved an initiative by a group called Association for Diversity, Tolerance and Democracy to commission street artists with the task of brightening up the streets with colorful works of art – in order to protect the artists and keep the initiative moving forward.
“We will also in the future thwart any plans to create a space of threat and intimidation in Dorstfeld or elsewhere,” said Dortmund police chief Gregory Lange.
“You cannot let neo-Nazis take a millimeter of room,” said Interior Minister Herbert Reul. “That’s why it’s a great thing for the citizens, the city and the police to stand up against the racist hurlers and remove their disgusting smear.”
In Berlin, a similar effort is being spearheaded by a group called “The Cultural Heirs” led by club founder and paint shop owner Ibo Omari. They are using the hashtag #PaintBack, which has been shared over 100,000 times, to display the works of art that their street artists are creating to cover symbols of hate, as well as running other initiatives to bring German youths from immigrant backgrounds together – using everything from street art to skateboarding.
“We as street artists wanted to send the message: you’re abusing graffiti,” said Omari. “Graffiti’s got nothing to do with racism – it’s about bright colours and diverse backgrounds.”