August 6, 2018

Belgium - Mural and graffiti in Arlon

Is graffiti a form of contemporary art? If not, it should be.

If done right, it can be edgy, it can be political, it can be colourful, it can look nice and it can be thought provoking, so I do consider graffiti a form of contemporary art.

On the other hand, there are murals. Although I have not researched this article, I did go on Wikipedia and found out that murals are not a form of graffiti as I previously thought, but an art on their own. The old cave paintings are murals, the painted ceilings and walls of old houses are murals, but I do think they are connected somehow.

In my mind, if the graffiti is the underground of this art form, the hidden sight, the artists are mostly unknown (check out Banksy), the murals, on the other hand, are in plain sight usually commissioned by local authorities or private businesses.

We live in a time when art gets out of museums and galleries, and can manifest itself in multinational companies offices, in public markets, in coffee shops, so even if you don't agree with me I will consider graffiti a form of art, rough around the edges, made in secret, form of art.
In Arlon, there is an artist, the creator of the mouse (or I'll assume it is a mouse). One of them resides on my street and the other one I've found in the city centre. One is nice, the other one is angry, but both are lovely. I've spotted the third one from my car one day, but I forgot where. So similar to the dog-pig of Bucharest, the mouse of Arlon is part of our multicultural community and I do hope is here to stay.

In any case it brings a large smile on my face every time I see it on my way to the train station.
The second mouse declares that he loves Arlon (6700 is the postal code of Arlon) or this is the way I translate this graffiti. He is a little bit angry, not knowing if indeed he loves this town, but at least he says he loves it. I feel I have the same relationship with this area, everything is good, I love my garden and my house, I enjoy what I do, I've made friends, English is used more and more, but deep down if I go soul searching, I know this is not my forever home. He is ... or maybe I should not say where he is, hidden art and all. He is in plain sight, though.

The mural, because I only know of one public mural in Arlon, is in Parc Gaspar, close to the museum with the same name and it's the one with a blue stag. The people in Arlon have something with this stag. I know Gaspar sculpted it and it's displayed in a square in Arlon, they dress it and party around it in Maitrank period, but I don't know the story of Arlon's stag. Maybe is the animal symbol of this town, don't know.

The mural was painted in 2017 and I imagine this is his forever home. I like to take pictures with it from time to time, I find it mysterious, hidden in the trees, and hard to photograph.
Who thought that Arlon could be so artsy?

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