emily lykos photography
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January 19, 2022
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Emily Lykos Immortalizes Activists Graffitis For Our Greatest Pleasure

If you have ever seen graffiti of a raised fist, then you know how symbols can be a huge part of protests, demands, and a time in history. And let us be real, they are also downright masterpieces sometimes.

Not so long ago, we told you about Shamsia Hassani and her incredible feminist graffitis, protesting against Taliban’s oppressions of Afghanistan. And not so long ago, we were heartbroken at the fact that some of her art was destroyed by the very same Talibans. Which prompts the question: what happens to graffiti left by protesters? Who can see them?

Luckily for us, Emily Lykos has our back on that front. Carefully documenting the aftermath of protests, Emily’s Twitter feed reads like a time capsule. From memes to street art, and even the occasional sticker, the feed demonstrates something we often forget. It reminds us of how art and activism have always been intertwined.

Even in the most dire of situations, when the tear gas, the crowds and the water cannons have dissipated, they leave behind an unmistakable mark in the cities they occupy. From the funny to the macabre, this generation is, in our opinion, like no other when it comes to spreading a message. Blame it on meme culture or on the inescapable irony and nihilism of Gen Z, but you cannot question the effectiveness of these unconventional appeals to protest.

For Emily, all of this art deserves careful attention and archival work. Because who/ where would we be, without the people who kept the zines we worship now (speaking of which, have you looked at Cerys’ zines? because we are in love) when they were worthless, or the meticulous photographers of 80’s Brooklyn graffiti?

Well, we know where we would be: lost. And that is why Emily and her secretive Twitter feed deserve a place in the library of congress. Thank you for the work, Emily!

Browse down to see some of the beautiful photographs she is taking!


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