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“Hip-Hop Graffiti in Reykjavik, Iceland” by K.J.S.Chatrath

During my travels to various cities across the world I have come across many types of graffiti – the most widespread one being where there are pintings of persons and places. I didn’t know what exactly is this genre of graffiti called. So I asked my friend and the welknown travel writer Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu (who runs one of the best travel and food related blogs- about  it. She, as I had expected,  knew all about it and told me that it is called the ‘Hip-Hop Graffiti’ (HHG) and gave me a little backgrounder. Later on I looked up the internet for some futher details.

Modern graffiti is roughly 30 years old, dating back to New York and the tags, nickname signatures, in the 1960s. It was seen as a s a form of expression by political activists, and also by gangs such as the Savage Skulls, La Familia, and Savage Nomads to mark territory. Towards the end of the 1960s, the signatures—tags—of Philadelphia graffiti writers Top Cat,  Cool Earl and Cornbread started to appear.Around 1970–71, the center of graffiti innovation moved to New York City where writers following in the wake of TAKI 183 and Tracy 168 would add their street number to their nickname, “bomb”.

Over the years the writings have become larger in size. The use of stencil,  was considered as a method for those who didn’t have the talent to do the real graffiti. More pictorial aspects too have also found place in the HHG. Today the graffiti has become an entire culture with its own styles, references, languages and forms of expression. Some look at  graffiti as an offshoot of  urban gangs, regarding its markings and murals as visible,  challenges to middle class and elite aesthetics, property concepts, and sense of security. Others see it as a harmless form of expression. Some also term it as a public domain storey telling

On the one end there is the American old school street graffiti, with close linking to hip-hop and street culture, and on the other we find graffiti in Europe  which has more of experimentation including 3D visualization. Quite like the fact that Iceland is geographically between these tow poles, its graffiti too is somewhere in between. However with just 250000 population, the  size of Reykjavík also restricts the scope of its expansion in the town.

The relationship between graffiti and hip hop culture arises both from early graffiti artists engaging in other aspects of hip hop culture, Graffiti is understood as a visual expression of rap music, just as breaking is viewed as a physical expression.

So let me share with you the brief background of the HHG and a show you a few photos which I took in the City Centre of Reykjavik, Iceland some  weeks back.















  A tribute to the late Whitney Housten






 Depiction of a cop.






The above is not really a HHG. It is an advertisement in  a shop window.


Text (with inputs from the internet), photographs  and copyright K.J.S.Chatrath

IMPORTANT: This website does not sell any hotel rooms/air tickets/packages/insurance cover etc.  It is intended only for providing information to the Fifty+/younger travellers and sharing of travel experiences. The above information is being shared only for the convenience of the readers who are advised to double check the information and satisfy themselves before taking any decision.

I am happy to share with you about the starting of another website by me: 

Grave matters….matters of graves…graves and cemeteries….tombs and graves…cemeteries and graveyards….photos of gravestones from all over the world…inscriptions from all over the world…sad, inspirational and some with a sense humour… I look forward to receiving your encouragement and advice.

These photographs are also available without watermark and in high resolution. Please contact

2 Responses to ““Hip-Hop Graffiti in Reykjavik, Iceland” by K.J.S.Chatrath”

  1. Puneet says:

    Why, thank you, kind sir!

    • Rey says:

      This is the type of Graffiti art that I’d definitely ergaunoce on my wall. What wonderful works of art and it’s really hard to believe they can get those effects working with the tools they have. They all have talent for sure. I love that blue angel one and all the ones with faces on them. They are really beautiful and some quite touching to see the emotions the artist manage to convey with their paints. I wish I could be this artistic on canvas with a brush let alone on a wall with spray cans and half the time at night. Truly love to see these artists get the recognition they deserve as artists.

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