In Summary
  • A presidential directive three years ago lifted the ban on matatu graffiti but public service vehicle operators still have run-ins with NTSA over "vulgar, explicit and demoralising" images.
  • In the US, a homeless woman was jailed for spray painting government buildings with expletive-filled graffiti against President-elect Donald Trump.

How often do you board matatus with glitzy drawings or pause to enjoy the scenery of dramatic artwork on street walls in Nairobi? What you may not know is that this graffiti is growing in popularity and tenacity.

Kenya's capital city has seen an increase of this art form despite several attempts by government to crackdown on what is deemed as offensive street art.

A presidential directive three years ago lifted the ban on matatu graffiti but public service vehicle operators still have run-ins with the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) over "vulgar, explicit and demoralising" images.

Activists such as Boniface Mwangi were also in the soup after using graffiti to convey messages against corruption and bad governance.

Kenya is not the only country whose artists constantly grapple with tough laws pertaining to graffiti. Last year, a homeless woman was jailed for spray painting government buildings with expletive-filled graffiti against US President Donald Trump.

In November this year, Canadian police arrested a man for 18 cases of vandalism graffiti as this form of art contravenes the law, the Argus Observer reports while in the UK, an investigation was launched after antisemitic graffiti was found outside a synagogue in October, says the Yorkshire Evening Post.

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