6 of the best street art projects in Asia-Pacific right now

Art Radar brings you a list of engaging street art projects around Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

From the Asia-Pacific Region to the Middle East, late 2013 and early 2014 saw the realisation of some exciting street art projects that have engaged local communities, and fostered dialogue and understanding about street art. Art Radar collates a list our favourites.

Saleh Al Shukairi creating his artwork at the Al Quoz Street Night Art 2014. Image courtesy Al Quoz Project.

Saleh Al Shukairi creating his artwork at the Al Quoz Street Night Art 2014. Image courtesy Al Quoz Project.

Al Quoz Beautification Project, Dubai

Al Quoz Project is a nonprofit community project that aims to inspire those living in Dubai’s Al Quoz neighbourhood through public art. Founded by Juan Oliva, Maria Urrutia and Ramy S. Al-Awssy, the group seeks to promote integration in the local community through art. On 24 January 2014, the collective held Al Quoz Street Night Art, the first event of the Al Quoz Beautification Project.

Presented in collaboration with Arabtec and supported by the Dubai Shopping Festival, the night event took place from 6pm to midnight, and was set up as the largest open-air art gallery in Dubai.

 Watch URSMAG TV video of Al Quoz Street Night Art on youtube.com

More than 50 artists took to the streets, presenting a range of live painting and multidisciplinary performances. Held out along 4B Street in Al Quoz, the event created exchanges and encounters with artists and allowed the public to familiarise with art.

After the event, the artworks will be auctioned to raise money to create art workshops for the labourers living nearby and public spaces for the neighbourhood.

A poster at JNU Campus, New Delhi. Image from Wiki Commons.

A graffiti poster at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Campus, New Delhi. Image from Wiki Commons.

JNU Poster Art, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has been one of the most vibrant campuses in India since its founding in the late 1960s, with a culture of open debates and intellectual discourse.

Named after India’s first Prime Minister, the university is known for its disciplined and highly politically aware student community, dominated by leftist ideology and left-leaning student groups that have managed to remain at the centre of the campus’ political life.

A graffiti poster on the Biotechnology Department building, JNU Campus, New Delhi. Image from Wiki Commons.

A graffiti poster on the Biotechnology Department building, Jawaharlal Nerhu University (JNU) Campus, New Delhi. Image from Wiki Commons.

The university campus is also the site of one of the oldest and finest traditions of graffiti in New Delhi. Painted by student members of the All India Students Association (AISA), the murals adorn department buildings and walls with slogans, graffiti and posters painted by students of various orientations.

The artworks comment on a wide range of issues, from inflation to gender rights, from national and international politics to corruption and terrorism. Political figureheads appear in the propaganda style murals, such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez or China’s Chairman Mao Tse Tung, resounding with their anti-imperialist rhetoric. After the December 2012 Delhi gang rape case and the many others that followed suit, artists have also created murals against sexual harassment. View more images on Al Jazeera.

One of Ernest Zacharevich's popular mural installations created during the George Town Festival 2012, Penang, Malaysia. Image by Etienne Girardet on flickr.com.

One of Ernest Zacharevich’s popular mural installations created during the George Town Festival 2012, Penang, Malaysia. Image by Etienne Girardet on flickr.com.

Art is Rubbish is Art, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevich has been active in Malaysia since 2012, when during the George Town Festival he created the now famous murals that adorn the walls of George Town in Penang. In December 2013, the artist returned to Penang to create more street art installations and small murals, in anticipation for his first ever solo exhibition at the Hin Company Bus Depot, titled “Art is Rubbish is Art” (17 January – 14 February 2014).

Zacharevic’s wall art typically integrates other people’s unwanted items (defined as ‘trash’) into his murals. His works can be viewed all over George Town and have become very popular. The island of Penang and Malaysia have been a source of inspiration for the artist for a long time, thus his decision to establish a consistent presence in the George Town.

 Watch a video of “Art is Rubbish is Art” by The Start Online on youtube.com

The location of his solo exhibition, the Hin Company Bus Depot, “has been abandoned for years and still holds layers of history within its walls and Zacharevich is keen to bring it back to life as a meeting point between new and old,” said his publicist and creative partner Gabija Grusaite in an interview with The Malay Mail Online. Zacharevich’s recent exhibition and his continued presence in the city have transformed the urban environment and connected the local community with street art.

Eko Nugroho, 2013, mural at RC Veteran tunnel, near JORR Veteran Gate, RC Veteran Raya Street, South Jakarta. Image courtesy Jakarta Biennale.

Eko Nugroho, 2013, mural at RC Veteran tunnel, near JORR Veteran Gate, RC Veteran Raya Street, South Jakarta. Image courtesy Jakarta Biennale.

The Mural Project, 15th Jakarta Biennale, Indonesia

The Mural Project was a new programme of the 15th Jakarta Biennale in 2013. In Asia, Indonesia has been at the forefront of promoting street art and engaging communities through public art projects. The Indonesian Street Art Database started building an online record of street art around the country in 2012, in an effort to create a greater awareness of the art form.

In this context, the Jakarta Biennale conceived the Mural Project, which featured the work of seven Indonesian mural artists scattered in different locations around the city. The project’s intention was to produce works of street art that consisted of stories about how citizens survive in one area. The artists responded to the struggle and tactics of people by identifying the site, environment, political issues and communities in the area. Each work had a strong relationship with the space.

Riyan Riyadi alias the Popo, 2013, mural at Pasar Pagi Asemka Overpass, West Jakarta. Photo: Agung ‘Abe’ Natanael. Image courtesy Jakarta Biennale.

Riyan Riyadi alias the Popo, 2013, mural at Pasar Pagi Asemka Overpass, West Jakarta. Photo: Agung ‘Abe’ Natanael. Image courtesy Jakarta Biennale.

The project proposed to offer knowledge about hidden narratives of a specific location to a broader public. Through various elements ranging from literature, history to urban legends, the artists involved found and collected ideas, stories and values ​​of the site for the community.

The artists who participated in the project included Danuri a.k.a Pak Nur (Jakarta), Eko Nugroho (Yogyakarta), Fintan Magee (Australia), Guntur Wibowo (Jakarta), Riyan Riyadi a.k.a The Popo (Jakarta), Rizky Aditya Nugroho a.k.a Bujangan Urban (Jakarta) and Ruli Bandhriyo a.k.a LoveHateLove (Yogyakarta).

Askew, 'Kristen', 2013, created during Rise Festival graffiti & street art jam, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo by Askew One. Image courtesy the artist.

Askew, ‘Kristen’, 2013, created during Rise Festival graffiti & street art jam, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo by Askew One. Image courtesy the artist.

Rise Street Art Festival, Christchurch, New Zealand

The Rise Street Art Festival was launched on 20 December 2013 and is running until 23 March 2014 in Christchurch. The festival is organised by Oi YOU!, a collection of street art that was started by British husband and wife George Shaw and Shannon Webster in 2010. After years of collecting street art, the duo set up Oi YOU! and started to organise street art events in New Zealand, where they relocated in 2009.

Rise is the first event in Christchurch and features a show of the Oi YOU! Collection at the Canterbury Museum, and murals by international and local artists in different locations around the city.

 Watch a video teaser of RISE Festival on youtube.com

The museum site hosts three main exhibitions: “On the Street”, a unique and interactive view of Kiwi street art; New York-based artist Kid Zoom; and the Oi YOU! Collection featuring, for the first time, all of its Banksy works and memorabilia.

In December 2013, international and local artists transformed many of the city’s walls into large, colourful murals. Among the artists participating were Askew (Auckland), Beastman (Sydney), BMD (Wellington), ENO (Raurimu), Ghstie, Anthony Lister (Brisbane), Roa (Belgium), Rone (Melbourne), Vans the Omega (Adelaide), and Wongi and Ikarus (Christchurch).

 Watch the street art workshop in Binghamton on youtube.com

Beautifying Binghamton, New Zealand

The Department of Public Works in Binghamton hosted a project in 2013 that aimed at the beautification of downtown Binghamton. International mural artist Bruge Greig was invited to hold a two-day airbrushing workshop with local artists at the parking garage on Water Street Sunday.

Greig, who worked alongside Hollywood director Peter Jackson in the realisation of The Hobbit, was deeply affected by the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch. After the incident, he decided to dedicate more of his time to teaching others his graffiti skills.

During the workshops in Binghamton, artists decorated the grey walls and ramps of the parking garage. The organisers expressed their desire to eventually have more of these murals around the city.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

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Related topics: street art, graffiti, Indonesian art, Indian art, New Zealand art, Australian art, Emirati art, events in Penang, events in New Zealand, events in Jakarta, events in Dubai, events in New Delhi

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