The wall as a canvas

Fine Arts or street gibberish? Diego Rivera is a cultural icon. His frescos and wall paintings are at the centre of 20th century art history and belong to the cultural canon of our day. The contemporary artists and muralists on the other hand, whose work can be found in back allies and abandoned buildings, often operate in the margin and create their art in the territory of urban wasteland. As if they’re struggling to find a place. They walk a thin line as they find themselves in a twilight zone: some attribute the devastating label !vandalism! to their work, while others – fashionable gallerists, quoi? – put their work on a golden pedestal. The artists blend the language of the streets with the discourse of the cultural elite. Where do they belong? Are these contemporary muralists full blood mestizo – hence, artists pur sang?

Interior-exterior? | MURAL provided the artists with six blank slates. Inside and outside. On the streets and inside cultural institutes. The fact that theatres en cultural centres offer these muralists a stage, shows that they too, are contemplating about their own role in the city. Theatre emerged as an oral form of street art, in streets and on squares. In MURAL theatres and cultural centres reconnect with the language of the street. Arenberg, wp Zimmer, DE Studio, KVS, t’arsenaal en KOP embrace the contemporary muralists and offer them a place within – and very literally also on – their walls. And the artists bend their boundaries actively and blend in creatively, to – just as Rivera did – constitute a dialogue between their work and the architecture and function of the buildings. They gratefully use the walls as their canvas.

Kinky winky politics? | The artists show their soul in their work. And they touch upon ours as well. Because they provoke, exactly as Diego Rivera would do. And they ask critical questions. That is one of the things street art does: it questions our relationship with our environment. One might claim that creating street art is very similar to a bold and audacious wink. That wink can cause a sensation of pleasant arousal – or, it can be quite shocking. But, whichever it is, one has seen it – and it has the power to resonate throughout your entire being.

Practical information? | The murals are on permanent display during the opening hours of the participating cultural institutes. During the Mestizo Arts Festival you can participate in a guided tour on October 27, 28 and 29. And afterwards? No one knows. The exhibition does not have an expiration date. All participating cultural institutes decide for themselves how long they will enjoy or tolerate the wall paintings.

The artists: Farm Prod (BE/FR) in KVS Brussels, Gijs Vanhee in t,arsenaal mechelen, JAZ aka Franco Fasoli (AR) in Arenbergschouwburg, Charlotte Dumortier, El Neoray, Jos Verwer, Jango Jim en Rein Vyncke at KOP vzw and JOACHIM in DE Studio in Antwerp. 
 
Spitlart aka Younes Van Den Broeck, Afterstorm aka Michiel Mels, SMOK aka Bart Boudewijns, JOACHIM Lambrechts, Bert Lezy, Lucila Guichón and Alex Cordova made an interpretation at the outside wall of Antwerp-Luchtbal trainstation. This wall was used for the campaign of #MAF15DEMUUR.
With the support of: Antwerp Province, The Flemish Community (Art), Mexico Embassy and The Embassy of Argentina.