Street art avant la lettre goes back to murals in prehistoric caves. Even the Romans liked to paint in public spaces. Not so long ago, felt-tip pens and spray cans became dominant, followed by paste-ups, objets trouvés and many other materials.
Street art has long since ceased to be merely 'anti' or a paragon of anarchy. Today, thanks in part to this art form, the idea is alive that public space belongs to everyone.
Whether it is all done according to the rules of the law we will not go into, but one cannot deny that a grey country like Belgium can certainly benefit from some colourful interventions here and there. Illegal is not a synonym for criminal.
The street belongs to everyone. Many artists use it to unleash their ideas, their perception of reality and their creativity on the chance passer-by. Street art can be thought-provoking, but can just as well have a purely aesthetic purpose.
A nice evolution is that more and more exhibitions seek out the public space as an open-air exhibition space, just think of BEAUfort on our Belgian coast or TRACK in Ghent. This creates a greater understanding among a larger audience that murals can be a perfect fit within this framework. All year round.
Murals in the street scene make art accessible to everyone. It takes place in the moment and is subject to all kinds of external influences.
What is there today, can be gone tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow it may have risen again in a different form.
So let's cherish street art because it is critical, beautiful, daring, challenging, brightening up, idiosyncratic, fitting into its surroundings or just in (y)our face.