One more time I was surrounded by artists and people who had the compromise to make the city a better place to live. Last weekend I was in Ghent, an amazing cultural and creative city in Belgium. I had the opportunity to be part of the crew which helped a huge festival happen.
This time I will share the artworks I’ve seen but also a little bit about the experience being part of an urban creativity festival.
In my first day I got into a team of bloggers from different countries and I could follow a street art tour guided by Dries and Sam from Cultuur Gent. They borrowed us all their knowledge about the artistic concepts behind beautiful pieces of urban and street art that are stamped on the walls across the city. Dries used to be the responsible for the cleanness for non-authorized paintings in the city. Nowadays his work is to help the dialogue between owners and artists and fill empty walls with marvelous art pieces in Gent.
One characteristic of the street art in Ghent is that a couple of pieces are not that ephemeral as this kind of art is known for. What surprised me. If you ride a bicycle around the city, you will appreciate wall art from 5 years ago or even older. Maybe we can understand it as a respectful place for street artists and a great acceptance from the audience for public art.
During the festival Sorry, Not Sorry 2017, I could see huge com missioned pieces getting form and, once we are on the streets, some small illegal stuff was also present. This duality will always exist and it is also what makes the amazing atmosphere in the city.
To clarify… the idea of the festival Sorry, Not Sorry came from collectives and non governmental organizations based in Ghent. The Wallin’ collective, Kapow and Topo Copy choose a dialogue with the public department of Cultuur Gent. These institutions saw opportunities where some of the street artists or activists usually see enemies. They opened a dialogue with the state to improve the way the public sector see the street, public and urban art. The result in Ghent was really positive and other cities in Belgium are also adapting their concepts and walls. Not only in Belgium, but many different countries in Europe are using street art to regenerate areas and neighborhoods that before were seen as non-appropriated places to live or visit.
I believe that this kind of purpose from private organizations to public department may work very well. If the public sector doesn’t take actions though your collective thinks it is the best for your community, why not organize yourself and open a dialogue? Sometimes we need to take the first step to get the best for the creative community. Illegal pieces will always be part of street art but also the legal ones can empower artists and communities.
I also understand the difficulty to bring artistic concepts and sponsors together. I know that sometimes things don’t go well. Collectives and professional specialists for creative industry are the perfect ones to promote the ideal match and to make this articulation work in the best way for all sides.
To be continued…
Post and Photos by Angela Souza
To get to know the artists and the institutions of this post:
Cultuur Gent > https://stad.gent/cultuur-sport-vrije-tijd/cultuur
Sorry, Not Sorry 2017 > http://sorrynotsorry.gent/home-2017/
Kapow > http://www.kapow.be/
MARIANA PTKS > https://www.facebook.com/marianaptks/
POL COSMO > http://www.polcosmo.com/
VIOLANT > https://www.facebook.com/j.m.violant/