Citizenship

Color, happiness, and symbols of resistance

People paint rainbow-colored stairs on August 31, 2013 in Istanbul. Stairs in the Cihangir and Findikli neighborhoods, which attracted attention after being painted in rainbow colors by a local man on August 27, were all painted grey on the night of August 29, and following comments on social media, the municipality of Beyoglu immediately painted them again in rainbow colors. // Source: Ozan Kose / AFP / Getty Images. From Huffington Post.

People paint rainbow-colored stairs on August 31, 2013 in Istanbul. Stairs in the Cihangir and Findikli neighborhoods, which attracted attention after being painted in rainbow colors by a local man on August 27, were all painted grey on the night of August 29, and following comments on social media, the municipality of Beyoglu immediately painted them again in rainbow colors. // Source: Ozan Kose / AFP / Getty Images. From Huffington Post.

A set of public stairs in Turkey has arguably been the site of:

  • guerilla art (when a local resident painted them in rainbow stripes),
  • a populist happiness gesture (he wanted “to make people smile”),
  • censorship (Turkish officials covertly re-painted the stairs grey), and
  • resistance (locals were outraged, and the city re-painted the stairs in bright colors).

It goes to show how using vibrant colors and promoting happiness may seem like simple gestures, but they can be powerful and meaningful actions for people and cities too.

 

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