The Lennon Wall: Looking Back, Giving Back

An image of John Lennon, just one of his many faces that has been drawn at the wall

As I was staring at my desktop, reflecting on the last couple of months here in the Philippines, I almost failed to realize that I was staring at the Lennon Wall. For almost 4 years now, a few photos of the wall have been residing in my laptop as the wallpaper.

I remember visiting Prague for a few days, almost in a rush to savour as much of Europe as I can.

I remember bailing out at what could’ve been my first ever pub crawl, only to join in some stops with mostly guests from the hostel (yes, they took their guests to empty bars!).

I remember celebrating my birthday the usual way, low key at its finest.

And then I remember looking for the Lennon Wall and finding it amidst the rain.

5909The Lennon Wall, Prague, Czech Republic, September 12, 2012

A freedom wall, a wall for the freedom of expression when freedom was not completely available. Lennon and his songs were a symbol of freedom which were banned during the communist era. And only through this wall will you find it then.

What used to be a wall to voice out grievances by young Czechs during the communist era is now a wall where mostly messages of love and peace are exuded.

But even then, John Lennon, the Beatles, and their words have made appearances in the wall.

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I remember feeling surprised and honored to find a young artist, Calvin Jalandoni, fresh graduate from San Diego, sharing his talent through a piece in the wall. To witness art being made before my eyes.

For me, that was a humbling yet somehow proud experience.

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A week in Prague, a week for him to complete his task in spite of the nosy rain, of putting his own version of John Lennon.

Years had passed and even if the wall has been covered and repainted over and over again, its legacy will continue.

While some have merely used it to say that “they’ve been there”, post personal greetings of “hello,” goodbye,” and even “happy birthday”, this wall will thrive to always live by its name and its intention.

It has and perhaps will always be a place where silent voices and meaningful words can find its place, whatever the people, its country, and the situation face at that moment in time.

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And while I could’ve put words of my own, I opted not to. Albeit anyone could’ve taken part in it… Although I could’ve given my art as well… Just being there, just being present–being witness to the tiny events in that wall was enough for me at that moment in time.

As liberating as it could’ve felt, as prideful as it could get, I had nothing to give at that moment.

But today, I guess, this is me taking part in that wall.

There’s a reason why the Lennon Wall has been residing in my wallpaper for the past few years. It isn’t just because of the images, the superficial value. It’s because of this moment, where I can cherish and invite you, dear readers for what it truly stands for.

 

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For artists and non-(graphic) artists alike… To everyone, this wall is for all of you.

For all of us.

Cheers to peace and love.

Cheers to becoming dreamers and not being the only one.

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Note:

The Lennon Wall photos here were taken in September 12, 2012.
It always changes. As a freedom wall, everyone is free to share their words, thoughts, and art here.

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