Art can be found in the most unexpected places. Take a stroll around any major city in Europe, and you’ll quickly realize there is no need for expensive museum tickets or exclusive exhibitions. Murals, frescos and graffiti have managed to turn any place into an open-air art gallery. This is no different in Brussels, where the artwork covers walls, facades, and even shop fronts. No matter where you are headed, this capital city is guaranteed to give you a scenic route.
Created with a wide range of techniques and by a growing list of talented artists, the street art in Brussels is a reflection of the remarkable relationships between the city’s various communities. Though sometimes paradoxical, with owners of tagged properties receiving free graffiti removal by the same local authorities that fund the many fresco projects across the city. It leaves us questioning what can really be considered as art – a question with an answer that is undoubtedly different for every passer-by. This complexity, too, is a characteristic of Brussels itself.
Nevertheless, the street art in Brussels became an ode to the different themes that mark this city. From loud too subtle, commissioned to spontaneous, or playful too powerful, each artwork captures an aspect of Brussels’ unique character. Some with incredible social relevance, like the portrait of Ihsane Jafri, a Moroccan man who fell victim to deadly homophobic abuse. He became immortalised on a facade in Rue Saint-Christophe. Others simply brighten up the city through humorous takes on Belgian traditions, like the colorful mural of Manneken Peace in Rue du Chêne – only a few meters away from the actual statue. With his white sneakers and boom box by his side, the peeing boy has never looked better.
But art can only really be experienced when you see it for yourself. We took a walk around the centre of Brussels, past some of the most striking works of street art the city has to offer. Would you like to tag along?