Street Art Counter Culture Joins London Olympics




London’s Olympic Park area, including Hackney Wick will be decorated with street art as part of the ‘Cultural Olympiad’ next year. This is a ‘if you cant beat em Join em’ solution to all of the creative graffiti that has existed in the area for decades. The more organized Art exhibitions by David Hockney, Lucian Freud and Damien Hirst planned by the Cultural Olympiad committee will now have a relevant counter culture. Much was in evidence during the Hackney WickED Festival which successfully ran last weekend.  An alternative celebration of arts running alongside the Olympic Games in the east end of London next year will be in evidence, even if it isn’t sanctioned or paid for by the official organizations. This is certainly an ambitious project. But when the cultural extravaganza is rolled out, the chaotic, bright and witty offerings of the street artists near the Olympic Park will be a symbol of the relevance of the energy and output of the vibrant young community of artists that inhabit the area. The walls of buildings backing on to the Lee Navigation canal are good examples of this sort of work. Graffiti artists have been quietly adding their own gritty contribution to public art for some time. Monsters as large as houses, colourful tags and even the odd Olympic runner adorn the bricks and concrete slabs near the huge building site of the 2012 event. Lets hope that this contribution is not power-washed in the area’s gentrification drive,before the games begin, in less than a year.


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