Street art in Brussels: a reflection of citizens' concerns

Street art in Brussels: a reflection of citizens' concerns

The streets have always been a stage for various forms of expression. They are accessible places where people are easily reached, regardless of their origins. Urban language has always been a reflection of current issues. In fact, it is by collaborating with or supporting street artists that various Brussels-Capital Region institutions tackle subjects that are dear to the hearts of the city’s inhabitants. These collaborations have resulted in symbolic works that reflect current events. Here is a brief overview.

  • Homages to essential workers

    These days, the health crisis is on everyone’s mind. Despite the negative consequences it has had, it has also brought people closer together, reinstated the importance of human beings and highlighted essential professions. In2020, several murals have been created to pay tribute to these unsung heroes. 

    Theme: “Entre aide / Wederzijdse hulp” An homage to medical staff

    This mural thanks the men and women who showed solidarity and expertise during the health crisis.
    Artists: Collective 7e GAUCHE
    Address: Rue de l'Abricotier 7 Abrikozenboomstraat, 1000 Brussels

    Theme: A tribute to the staff at Etterbeek-Ixelles hospital

    Faces, glances and exchanges that testify to the courage of these everyday heroes.
    Artists: Amandine Lesay, in collaboration with the Cosmotion artist collective
    Address: rue Jean Paquot, 1050 Brussels

    Theme: Everyday heroes

    This mural is a tribute to cleanliness officers who work in the shadows. They are discreet, but effective.
    Artists: Yellow
    Address: various locations, 1000 Brussels

    Individual freedoms and rights

    If there is a theme that will forever be associated with street art, it’s freedom. Time after time, street art has been used to communicate and fight for the rights of minority communities, the right to equality, right to justice, ... urban language is a perfect medium for citizens’ demands.

    Theme: Women's rights

    Various female faces, including that of Frida Kahlo and Vandana Shiva, symbolise female solidarity.
    Artist: Madame La Belge
    Address: Rue Van Artevelde 112, 1000 Brussels

    Theme: LGBTQI rights

    Tribute to  Ihsane  Jarfi, the young man murdered in Liège in 2012. It was the first time in Belgium that homophobia was recognised as an aggravating circumstance for a crime.
    Artist: Anthea Missy
    Address: Rue Saint Christophe 36, 1000 Brussels

    Theme: "Justice and Freedom"

    This work underlines the importance of justice (the golden base) in maintaining individual freedoms (blue motifs). It’s located on the Public Prosecutor’s office in Brussels.
    Artist: Alto
    Address: Rue des Quatre Bras 4, 1000 Brussels

    Theme: Human rights

    Jette's street art trail consists of six monumental murals dedicated to human rights.
    Artists: Kool Koor (USA), Alvari (Netherlands), Dourone (Spain/France), Shamisa Debroey (Belgium/Zimbabwe), Shoof (Tunisia), Soaz (Belgium)
    Address: various locations in Jette

    Theme: A tribute to victims of discrimination

    Georges Floyd's face symbolises all those who have been victims of discrimination and injustice because of their skin colour and ethnicity.
    Artist: NovaDead
    Address: intersection avenue de la Reine and rue des Palais Outre-Ponts, 1020 Brussels

    Ecology and sustainable development

    The climate emergency is particularly at the heart of the concerns of the younger generations. Ecology and the transition to a sustainable society has thus become a priority for the Brussels-Capital Region and its actors.

    Theme: Sustainable Energy

    A young man protests nuclear power, the nuclear icon turns into wind turbine blades in his hands.
    Artists: Himed y Reyben (Mexico)
    Address: Rue du Cirque 33, 1000 Brussels

    Theme: Greta Thunberg

    The face of young Greta Thunberg, environmental activist and symbol of the fight against climate change.
    Artist: ENCQ
    Address: Cité du Sureau 20, 1000 Brussels

    Theme: Efecto Mariposa (butterfly effect)

    This work highlights the consequences that human actions can have on nature, fauna and flora.
    Artists: Olimpia Velasco and Esther Pizarro (Spain)
    Address: Rue de la Science 19, 1000 Brussels

    Diversity

    With around 183 nationalities and more than a million inhabitants living together, Brussels is one of the most cosmopolitan capitals in the world. This unique character is celebrated by the Mixity Walls trail - commissioned in 2017 - but also by many other murals spread throughout the region.

    Theme: Mixity Walls

    Evocatively named murals dedicated to diversity in all its forms.
    Artists: Okuda (Spain), Frau Isa (Austria), Autriche Nean (Belgium), Spear (Belgium), Samuel Idmtal (Belgium), Orlando Kintero (Colombia), Julia Eva Perez (France), Seth (France), A squid called Sebastian (Belgium).

    Theme: Out in the streets

    First murals celebrating gay love in the public space, but simultaneously pointing to the harassment of the LGBTQI community.
    Artist: Fotini Tikkou
    Address: Rue de la  Chaufferette, 1000 Brussels

    Theme: Immigration-related diversity

    Mural inspired by Bruegel's piece "Landscape with the Flight into Egypt", which evokes population movements. It is part of the Bruegel street Art trail.
    Artist: Piotr Szlachta (Poland)
    Address: Corner of rue des Capucins and Rue des  Tanneurs 102, 1000 Brussels