Street artists from The Netherlands and abroad created 10 stunning murals in the East of Amsterdam for the festival “If Walls Could Speak”
The street art festival “If Walls Could Speak” just took place in a peaceful corner of Amsterdam East.
The location could not have been more ideal: five social housing blocks very close to each other, which fun out in a green park limited by railway tracks.
At “If Walls Could Speak” each artist got a side of a 5-storey building to paint on. They all brought their typical style and unique imagery to Amsterdam, inspired by the relaxed vibe of the neighborhood and the festival’s theme: “Amsterdam for Everybody”. The festival was organized by Amsterdam Street Art.
If Walls Could Speak: The Murals
Coming from the metro station Wibautstraat, the first mural in view is the one by Dutch realism masters Kaspar van Leek and Niels van Swaemen, who work together as Studio Giftig. Their floating woman is blending with pigeons, which symbolize both freedom and the city of Amsterdam.
Up next, Spanish artist Julieta XLF painted her iconic ‘niña’ (girl). This female character, which is the protagonist of all her artworks, is naive yet conscious of the natural world around her. The title of the piece is “From wherever you come, here you are welcome”.
On the wall that follows, Sjem Bakkus and Ives One realized a multi-layered portrait of Karel Appel, who was born in this neighborhood. They wanted to tribute the Cobra avant-garde Movement, which consisted of artists from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam working on experimental art. The mural is titled “De appel valt niet ver van de boom” (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree).
Hera from the German duo Herakut painted one of her strong expressive figures. The sentence written in her typical scratched calligraphy says “When it comes to settling disputes, patience and compassion are often more useful than magic”.
Graffiti artists KASH and Chuck painted their interpretation of Amsterdam’s coat of arms. The three crosses in it refer to the three dangers medieval Amsterdam faced: fire, floods and the Black Death. The title of the mural is “Het Wapen van Verbroedering” (The Weapon of Fraternization).
Five more murals are at the other side of these buildings.
German artist Case Maclaim painted one of his recurring subjects –hands- using the unique colour palette of the area. The title of the artwork is “Carrying belongings”.
Leon Keer invites us to reconnect with our inner child with an outstanding anamorphic piece featuring a box of old toys. The mural is a reminder for every adult that we are still free to do whatever we want.
Dan Kitchener (a.k.a. DANK) gifted Amsterdam with one of his iconic, bright coloured geishas contemplating a rainy street scene crowded with neon signs. DANK’s murals are about the beauty of the light that is always emerging from the darkness.
Australian muralist Smug hand-painted the portrait of a friend, in his classic photorealistic style. The title of the piece is “Beter een goede buur dan een verre vriend”. (A good neighbor is better than a distant friend).
Finally, Dutch artist Dopie put up one of his bright colored animals. The feathers of this parrot (namely: the rose-ringed parakeet) now illuminate the area through countless shades of vivid hues.
Have a walk through the beautiful area of Platanenweg to discover the new creative neighbourhood of Amsterdam East!
If Walls Could Speak: The Artists
DANK (UK) | STUDIO GIFTIG (NL) | JULIETA XLF (ES) DOPIE (NL) | CASE MACLAIM (D) | KASH & CHUCK (NL) | HERA (D) | SJEM & IVES (ASA) | SMUG (AU) | LEON KEER (NL)
Photos by Lewis Duncan