Poems on asphalt

  • 2000-09-21
  • Aleksei Gynter

Unlike most graffiti artists, who tend to express their general negative attitude to the whole world, Tarmo Ladva has covered the streets of four Estonian towns with refreshingly positive poems.

Ladva is a painter, who materializes his feelings with the street poems. He publishes his poems right on the pavement, and hopes to make a book of them later.

There are 21 poems, but you have to visit Tallinn, Tartu, Parnu and Haapsalu to read all of them.

The poems are not written to someone special, although it may seem that way. The word 'You' is capitalized in every poem. But as Ladva says, that 'You' does not actually exist, it is like a dream.

The streets are often dirty and unpleasant, and Ladva's ambition was to make them look more pleasant. Maybe somebody would want to continue Ladva's undertaking. He thinks street books and even street journalism would make any town more amusing. "Why not publish The Baltic Times on the street?" he asked.

Ladva says his favorite poets are Andres Varblane of Tartu, George Soros and Bill Gates. "I really think the things they do are like poetry," Ladva said.

The poems will be around for one year, until Aug.10, 2001. Then the artist will cover them with black paint.

The project required special permission from local governments, but Ladva said there were no problems with that. He said it is always easy for any official to ban such projects, and his street poetry is a good example of cooperation between artists and officials.

The Estonian daily Postimees and the AleCoq brewery supported Ladva's project. Now the artist is working on another event for the Tartu Bottle Rally.