Ghent puts street art into the limelight

During the weekend of Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May, the City of Ghent highlighted street art by means of the Sorry, Not Sorry festival. More than 40 culture partners and over 70 participant artists contributed. During this festival, visitors were able to enjoy new murals, graffiti, performances and art installations in the city. This festival was the apogee of the cultural theme year ‘Kunst op Straat’ (Art in the Streets) in which the city intended to bring people closer together.

Sorry, Not Sorry emphasizes the former illegal character of street art. Nowadays, graffiti is more tolerated, but this was not the case until recently. Many artists actually regretted these illegal creations, but in fact they did not since they were proud of their work. Hence, the reference in the name of this project. Until 2002, street art was prohibited in Ghent. Street artists only had the possibility to work in the illegality. From 2002 onwards, things changed for the better, by providing legal graffiti walls. The first graffiti wall was created in the famous graffity street, soon to be followed by other venues in the city.

In 2016, the Ghent Municipality puts ‘art in the streets’ into the limelight. On the occasion of this theme year, it started looking for additional walls to be painted by inspired artists. This year, the search ensued in a dozen splendid new murals in the city, from the city centre until Ledeberg.

The Sorry, not Sorry festival was held on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May. It was scattered over various locations and provided an impressive and varied programme, including guided street art walks, a considerable offer of workshops and demonstrations of urban sports en dance, graffiti, an Art-Book fair, 2 dance festivals, a plastic arts trajectory etc. The last 500 statues of Moving People were also dropped during the festival. Both Belgian as well as foreign artists joined this project. Thus, it included the participation of the Polish Institute and the School of Murals from Gdansk, the Polish twin city of Ghent.

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