A vacant Brussels supermarket transformed into a major street art hub welcomed visitors for the last time during a unique New Year’s Eve event organised ahead of a planned demolition.
For the last night of the year, around 400 revellers flocked to the Strokar Inside street art museum to get one last glimpse of its colour-splashed interiors, featuring oeuvres from a wide range of artists from Brussels and abroad.
Launched by the street art collective Strokar in the former premises of a Delhaize supermarket in Ixelles, the centre drew over 150,000 visitors in its roughly 15 months of existence.
Around a hundred artists worked together to bring the 5,000 square-metre space to life, splashing the floors, walls and ceilings of the supermarket local with colour and original illustrations.
The end-of-year event organised on Tuesday was meant to offer attendants the chance to spend a “unique” and ephemeral evening highlighting the looming destruction of the centre.
“There will be no trace of your passage through here,” the organisers of the event wrote, noting that the building and the works of art it contained would vanish in 2020.
The supermarket local is owned by the property developer Besix Red, which intends to raze the property to the ground in order to build a residential complex in its place.
Before leaving the premises, which Strokar was leasing under a temporary contract, the street art group committed to erasing all of the art from the walls, RTBF reports.
“It makes us super sad, but that’s how it is,” Alexandra Lambert of Strokar told the outlet. “We’re often told that street and urban art is ephemeral, but that’s not at all how we see it.”
“We think that, today, urban art has become a sort of patrimony and that it should be preserved in the city, but that’s not everybody’s vision,” she added.
Since its creation, the centre has hosted a myriad of conferences, guided and nocturnal visits and mural painting courses, with one of its flagship events being an exposition on the work of elusive British street artist Banksy.
While the street art centre is bound to vanish from the Brussels art scene, the project drew international attention and has been offered a lifeline by the Dakar Biennale, a major international festival of contemporary arts hosted in the Senegalese capital.
“The curator of the Dakar Biennale (…) offered us both to hold an exposition and maybe to also create a centre there which will be named Strokar Dakar,” Lambert said.
The Brussels Times