An Unexpected Country Has Become a Mecca for Subversive Street Art

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New York City has traditionally been considered the premier mecca for street artists around the world. "It's hard to imagine what New Yorkers experienced in the early seventies, as they watched their city become steadily tattooed with hieroglyphics," wrote Dimitri and Gregor Ehrlich New York magazine in 2007. "Some saw it as vandalism and a symbol of urban decay. But for the writers who risked life, limb, and arrest, and the teenagers, filmmakers, and, eventually, curators who admired them, graffiti was an art form."

But in the wake of the global financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession, Greece has emerged as a new hub for powerful, subversive street art. After six years of economic decline, the country has an unemployment rate of 26.4%, and the hardships wrought by the country's economic collapse have led to a new wave of innovative graffiti.

"People in Greece are under increasing pressure," iNO, a graffiti artist "who aims to draw attention to the social situation in this crisis-hit country," told the New York Times in April. "They feel the need to act, resist and express themselves."

Getty Images photographer Milos Bicanski has been documenting the recent surge in street art, an graffiti renaissance "both politically aware and socially accepted." 

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