Con­trary to

Hong Kong Tatler - - The Great Debate -

legal pol­icy, much of the public has em­braced street art for the cul­tural and aes­thetic value it adds to their cities. Banksy can be cred­ited with “le­git­imis­ing” street art, but pre­dat­ing him are Keith Har­ing and Basquiat, who were among the first wave to make the tran­si­tion from the street to com­mer­cial gal­leries. In Hong Kong, the work of the “King of Kowloon” is now cel­e­brated and has be­come iconic. The im­pact of street art on con­tem­po­rary cul­ture and ur­ban land­scapes is ex­ten­sive. Mu­se­ums show it, gal­leries are sell­ing it and brands have in­cor­po­rated it. And not all street art is about spray­paint— Hong Kong re­cently pro­vided a great ex­am­ple of street art in all its di­ver­sity dur­ing Oc­cupy Cen­tral, with posters, draw­ings, video pro­jec­tions, ban­ners, sculp­tures such as Um­brella Man and in­stal­la­tions such as the Len­non wall. Re­cently the “yarn bomb­ing” phe­nom­e­non has also spread around Cen­tral and She­ung Wan, with cro­cheted in­stal­la­tions wrapped around trees and steel bars. Street art is demo­cratic; it’s ac­ces­si­ble to all and free. I look at some of the more out­stand­ing pieces as civic-minded acts, rather than van­dal­ism, that re­claim cor­po­rate and public space to give some­thing back.

D’aren­berg Par­manand is a Hong Kong-based writer on cul­ture and the arts

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