The art of appreciating street art

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National Gallery’s Mural Project booming

When you see the Street Art wall by the Glass House for the first time it may look messy and chaotic, writes Jean Van Iddykinge. When students aged 5 to 44 were painting at a workshop earlier this year, they had no preconceived ideas about what it should look like, they let their creative juices flow.

Now you need to look a little closer and take time to really take in the wall.  Firstly you will see 44 year old Alejandro’s (Code12) pop singer emerging from scarab golden wings, a stencil image uniquely Pilipino. You can feel Alexandro’s passion for live music and the almost sacred place it holds in his culture.

Next you’ll see Tyler’s (Strings) “Gangster Penguin”, a penguin with a bandana on his head and wearing a bowtie and gold chains. “Gangster penguin” is a diverse and powerful image, it shows the chaotic factors influencing young people today, American hip-hop culture versus education and sports.

If you keep searching the wall you will find Dorothy’s Scuba Diver, Isabelle’s monkey, Ruthy’s frogs, Dominic’s bats and Jojo’s Lionfish. In a matter of fact there are so many hidden gems that it’s a wall you can look at for ages.

The secret of understanding and appreciating the Street Art Wall is to look beyond the chaos of the multicoloured lines and tags and look at the images and messages within the chaos. At the end of the day you may look at the wild spray painted wall and think “what a mess”, it doesn’t follow the order or stereotype that we’ve been taught to follow, it wakes us out of our comfort zone and stirs our emotions, that’s exactly why it is art.

The National Gallery Community Mural Programme is a free community art programme designed by the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands and sponsored by the Ministry of District Administration, Planning, Agriculture and Housing with the support of McAlpine (Cayman) Ltd.

For more information contact Kaitlyn at [email protected] or call 945 8111



Instructors Jean Van Iddykinge and Joanna Austin stand in front of the Mural completed by the students of the National Gallery’s Street Art Workshop.