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Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 7. 1961.

Dada and Grafitism

Dada and Grafitism

In 1916, at the cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Tristan Tzara started a movement that was to sweep all Europe before 1924. In latter years the movement would split and finally destroy itself from over popularisation.

Dada, with all its followers and nihilistic principles, started as a revolt against art, different literary movements, and against almost everything in general after the world had been disorganised by the Great War.

Most people of that day and age called the Dadaists "aggressive madmen." But for all the talk of the common herd and peasantry, the Dada movement grew until they had followers and mass meetings all through Europe and the United States.

The Dada movement could be found in most places in the world except for the small country of New Zealand; the only reasons being the lack of culture and intellectuals. But New Zealand has always been at least 50 years behind in most. Everything except art; in that field New Zealand is 100 years behind.

For the years that the Dada movement was active it produced many artists and men of letters; and those behind the movement were all ready well-known in their own different artistic fields throughout Europe, England, and the United States. But none from New Zealand; it still being in its dark ages.

New Zealand has given very little to the collection of world culture and arts: one novelist, dead; one ballerina, retired; no one prominent in the theatre, nothing; no James Joyce, no Picasso, no Flaubert, Yeats, Valery. Proust, nothing.

There is very little art appreciation in this poor country. Suicide would be the only way for the artist to be recognised by this sleepy country.

Once in a while a collection of works can be unearthed; but the collection usually is so poor that it can only be appreciated by those who are fortunate enough to be blind.

The answer to the lack of appreciation for the arts in Now Zealand would be to use the dead nihilistic principles of the Dada movement combined with the basic principles of Grafitism. As very few New Zealanders see any genuine examples of art, and few ever visit the National Gallery, the only place for art would be on walls of various kinds where the common man could make contact with art as he goes about his daily business, and what better place than the wall confronting a man's eyes as he stands in a public urinal?

Mundus Volut Decipit Ergo Decipisur.