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Napoleon comes to life in hands of graffiti artists in Petržalka

PETRŽALKA inhabitants will now be able to admire part of the Bratislava borough’s history on the local Gessayova Street. A transformer station will be adorned with a scene depicting the months-long 1809 siege by the army of French Emperor Napoleon I, in which it was attempting to force its way across the Danube River. The project, Historical Connections in the Footsteps (Urban Gallery), seeks to enhance the perception of Petržalka’s inhabitants of its local historical dimension.

PETRŽALKA inhabitants will now be able to admire part of the Bratislava borough’s history on the local Gessayova Street. A transformer station will be adorned with a scene depicting the months-long 1809 siege by the army of French Emperor Napoleon I, in which it was attempting to force its way across the Danube River. The project, Historical Connections in the Footsteps (Urban Gallery), seeks to enhance the perception of Petržalka’s inhabitants of its local historical dimension.

“In Petržalka’s Janko Kráľ City Park, there is a tree under which Napoleon sought shade, and a stone on which he had his maps of the city of Bratislava unfolded,” Matúš Ferenčík of the Legal Graffiti Zones civic association told the TASR newswire. The association plans to continue with more paintings, decorating transformer stations on Gessayova, Bzovícka, Lietavská and Hrobákova streets. “The plan is to create a so-called Urban Gallery which would serve, apart from other things, as an illustrated textbook of history,” Ferenčík explained.

Its members also envision painting the history of the bridging of the right and left banks of the Danube, in addition to the presence of Roman legions along the river, the history of settlement and agriculture in the region, and the visit of Pope Leo XI. But so far, the association only has resources for one painting and is attempting to collect more funding for the project.

“Many people are disgusted with the graffiti on public transport or on buildings; but maybe it could be worth turning attention to this new type of graffiti, assess it, and not condemn it in advance. Although I respect their opinion, I think that graffiti is a way to send a message, information,” he added. He explained that graffiti is a way in which people are joining each other globally, creating whole communities. “This artistic technique has its specifics: it is meant rather for outdoors, rather for bigger spaces, and has its own rules,” Ferenčík concluded.

The borough of Petržalka also contributed to the project, both financially and by clearing the self-seeded trees and bushes around the transformer station, the borough’s spokesperson, Mária Grebeňová-Laczová, informed TASR.

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