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Ceremony, by Yard Press, 90s graffiti Rome, Dazed
Courtesy of Yard Press

The graffiti gangs of 90s Rome

See photographs of the underground Roman street art crews who thrived amongst the city’s relaxed vandalism laws

Making your mark on public property with a can of spray paint is a pretty serious statement. Call it art, call it vandalism, call it a nuisance, there’s no denying the allure of graffiti. Ceremony is a documentation of such artists set amongst the backdrop of 90s Rome. Featuring a collection of candid black and white images from the archives of various Roman graffiti crews and writers, Ceremony immortalises the rebellious young men in all-black and balaclavas, in Adidas tracksuits and hanging off the backs of train carriages, all in the name of street art. Rather than the art itself, the zine focuses on the social element of the subculture – its notions of camaraderie and a sense of brotherhood intertwined within the crew.

Alongside images sits an essay by Simone Pallotta, curator of the 2014 exhibition From Street To Art. Speaking with Brooklyn Street Art about the show last year, Pallotta revealed that in the 1990s, Rome’s vandalism laws were very relaxed, remaining so until the early 00s. This lack of supervision ultimately led to an increase in artists flocking to Rome to spray paint their visions across the city. Once a subversive movement, today street art is an accepted and applauded practice heralded in galleries and creative spaces the world over – from Banksy to Stephen Sprouse for Louis Vuitton – in Pallotta’s own words, “it’s no longer just the streets that welcome them, it’s the entire world.”

Ceremony is available from Yard Press now