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The colourful voice of Istanbul.

Most protest movements that survive the early indignation of the establishment, become the establishment. Some so called “street artists” or “graffiti artists” now command six or seven figure sums for their works that hang in international galleries. Arguably, such artists have been neutered.

But in a poetic subversion of art, Huseyin Cetinel, a retired forestry engineer, painted the Findikli stairs in Istanbul in rainbow colours, but he soon found the people of the city was using his idea as a voice for protest against the authorities.

Cetinel claims he only wanted to cheer-up his neighbourhood with a bit of colour. Well his cheerful and peaceful guerilla action, was not appreciated by the authorities who promptly repainted the stairs a drab grey.

But the citizens of Istanbul, who were thrilled by the “Cetinels Rainbow Action”, as it became known, took it upon themselves to paint a few more public stairs in bright colours...others even thought it was a protest for gay rights expressing messages of solidarity on social media sites.

Eventually, it appears that the authorities came on side, and in a way absorbed another free spirit.

Christopher C. Hill.

 

Gratitude to the New York Times.

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