In a time when the global Coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation of major art fairs and exhibitions, the London Mural Festival promises to offer accessible art while social distancing, reported Lanre Bakare of The Guardian. The festival will see a hundred street artists from Japan, Australia, Colombia, and the UK creating murals in more than fifty locations across London. The festival is scheduled to run throughout September.
According to Lee Bofkin, co-founder and CEO of Global Street Art (organizing body of the London Mural Festival), street art would a “non-contact sport” which will be created by artists in lifts so that they are not close to the public and viewed by audience outdoors while they are safely social distancing. “It’s important that London Mural Festival goes ahead this year, showing the enduring nature of human creativity”, said Bofkin. “It’s been a hard year for everyone and continues to be, but hopefully, we can bring a smile to people’s faces and brighten up the streets.”
The fifty sites of the festival in the capital city include King’s Cross, Holborn, Canary Wharf, Tottenham among others, and in Fitzrovia, a mural painted in 1980 by Simon Barber and Mick Jones will be restored. To locate available spaces, the organizers worked with residents’ associations, councils, private landlords, and commercial partners because paintable locations were hard to find in a city, said Bofkin. According to him, this is the reason why this will be the first-ever London Mural Festival. Additionally, with murals having replaced illegal tagging, the cost of graffiti clean-up for local councils and housing associations has been reduced with the help of Global Street Art.
Referring to the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement in the US where street art has become a symbol of resistance and the coming together of black communities, Bofkin said that it “makes sense” that muralism was used because he believes that through murals, one can “say something political” and “make a statement” while other times, one can “just have fun.”