Prague’s John Lennon Wall on Kampa Island near Čertovka, is one of the Czech capital’s most frequently Instagrammed locations, a crowd-sourced mural visited by hundreds of tourists daily.
Called “Zeď Johna Lennona” in Czech it was first decorated by an unknown artist who, following the December 1980 assassination of John Lennon, painted a single image of the singer-songwriter and some lyrics on a blank wall across from the French embassy.
Throughout the years the wall filled up with graffiti and Beatles’ lyrics; in the late ’80s, it was the source of a political clash between the communist regime and young Czechs who took to the space to express their grievances.
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From Prague with love! Happy birthday John Lennon. In 1988, the John Lennon wall was a source of irritation for the communist regime. Young Czechs wrote grievances on the wall and this led to a clash between hundreds of students and security police on the nearby Charles Bridge. The movement these students followed was described as “Lennonism” and Czech authorities described these people variously as alcoholics, mentally deranged, sociopathic, and agents of Western capitalism. The wall is a symbol of freedom of expression, but since November 2014 it has had very few references to John’s legacy. So as a birthday gift, I thought I would bring John Lennon back to the wall. @johnlennonofficial @johnlennonwall #johnlennonwall #johnlennonwallprague #johnlennon #imagine
On November 17, 2014, the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the Lennon wall was painted completely white by a group of student-artists activists who left the words “wall is over,” a play on the Lennon tune “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”
Last week a likeness of the wall’s original hero returned, thanks to Prague-based multi-media artist David Strauzz who shared a series of photos of his new Lennon portrait on Instagram, writing:
“The wall is a symbol of freedom of expression, but since November 2014 it has had very few references to John’s legacy. So as a birthday gift, I thought I would bring John Lennon back to the wall.”
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A few action shots from my John Lennon painting earlier this week. Video coming soon. Thanks for the awesome photos, all! Photo #1: @davidvuitfotografies Photo #2: @miloulm Photo #3: @stratismaravelias Photo #4: @lifeismorethanduties #johnlennon #johnlennonwall #johnlennonwallprague @johnlennonofficial
Lennon was born October 9, 1940. He would have been 78.
Social media networks have already started filling up with photos of tourists at the new wall.
Strauzz recently unveiled a similar large-scale mural at the Pragovka art district in Kolbenova where he painted over 25,000 drip dots for an outdoor mural as part of September’s Artwalk event.
Today the John Lennon Wall is owned by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta at Velkopřevorské náměstí. The order has continued to allow graffiti on the wall.