I live in the regional city of Wollongong which is around 90 km south of Sydney. These days, not much divides the sprawling southern suburbs of Sydney and the northern suburbs of Wollongong. Once home to Aunty Jack a 1970’s TV comedy, the cultural landscape is now much more diverse.
A recent addition has been the Wonder Walls Festival which is held in the last weekend of November. Our council invites local and international artists to brighten up the walls around the city’s CBD.
After three consecutive years you can really notice the difference and the vibrant atmosphere this project is bringing to town.
Some of the works are very small scale and others are truly majestic. I hope it’s a tradition that is set to stay.
Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 right next to the ancient city of Jaffa (Yafo), which is the oldest continuously occupied working port in the world. In 2016, there were as many car parks as disco bars. Fifty thousand people accessed the free city wi-fi in public spaces (including me!) Ninety-one percent of the city’s 418,600 residents were Jewish. There were 7000 hotel rooms. And nearly every surface that can been drawn on hosts some amazing art.
If you have read my other posts you have perhaps figured by now, that my daughter lives in Israel. She moved from Australia about 4 years ago and at present is living just outside of Tel Aviv.
I have been to visit five times and each time I go; I say on my return to God’s own country (Wollongong); “it’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there”.
But truth be told, I think I could live in Tel Aviv.
One of the reasons being; the amazing street art. It is witty, funny and often poignant. I have wondered if it was sanctioned or simply tolerated but on reading the city’s official website, I am thinking it is in fact, sanctioned and perhaps even encouraged.
Tel Aviv has an official “brand” and the municipal council lists the brand’s values as:
PLURALISM – Multi-culturalism, accepting and promoting those who are different.
OPEN – A city that believes that it will become a better place if everyone will be able to be who they truly are.
FREEDOM – Freedom of thought, of expression, of choice and of creativity. Above all: the freedom to be yourself.
INNOVATION – A city that leads in all fields shaping the face of Israeli society.
URBAN CREATIVE ENERGY -The place where everyone can express themselves.
The urban creative energy is evident in the street art. It is EVERYWHERE. I have spent several days playing “Search for Sened”.
For me, looking for the cute, cubic cartoon characters that are only about 10 cm high is better fun than Pokemon Go! Often in out-of-the way places they pop-up unexpectedly, but once you have your eye in, you see them everywhere.
The street art is truly art – well executed, well planned and colourful. There seems to be very little mindless graffiti or tagging for tagging’s sake. I would recommend a walking tour. Have a look here for a suggested itinerary.
After a while you will begin to recognise particular artist’s styles.
Don’t be afraid to head down some darkened corridors – you can find some great work there too.
It is an ever changing canvas, although I have never seen anyone actually doing the work. My next goal will be to find an “artist” at work.