Paint the wall: Street art or shambles

Walking down the streets of Brussels, you can get struck by them:
wall paintings.

Firstly there is the type of graffiti which, as I imagine, hooded youngsters secretly scribble on the wall during dark nights. It’s those sprayed initials, coincidently stuck on your neighbours house, which seem to tell you who owns the hood. Great pieces of information, at least if you are interested. Such shambles captured my undivided attention once. The pink/red initials were accompanied by the encouragement “Fight like a girl!!” and I wondered: has feminism become a serious issue in this dark Brussels underground world? An online search led me to a girls team of a local fight club. The message was meant quite literally after all.

Setting aside the use of graffiti to express territorial instincts, we are happily left with the more creative type of wall paintings that you can come across. Brussels is indeed a perfect city for lovers of ‘out in the open’ street art. Spending an afternoon in the Marollen neighbourhood, you will surely come across some sharp colourful images, large as a house can be, of well-known comic book heroes. The city even has an official comic book route! Or, quite less polished, look for the drawings of pencils. They are tucked away all over town and their stories are a mystery. If you wish to discover a rawer style, I would recommend for example to walk away from Hallepoort on the Henri Jasparlaan and look up. Or go and discover the works of street artist Bonom. His fans made a helpful map.

Now, street art comes and goes, but Zizi might be another story. Have you met Zizi, from Saint Gilles? He is a big popular wiener and personality with his own Facebook page. Zizi survived a political debate in the municipality about his possible removal. You can meet him in real life at the tram stop Bareel – at the side of cafe Las Vegas. He will be happy to see you.

If you are in favor of getting a portion of street art, but you can’t find your walking shoes, then the Brussels MIMA museum for contemporary art, opened last year, is an interesting alternative. This culture 2.0 museum is housed in the buildings of an old brewery in Molenbeek and is a great example of how approachable art can be.

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