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