Someone once told me that the presence of street art shows the intellectual richness of a city. I never stopped believing in that statement.
When I moved to Hamburg, I felt at home all of a sudden. Hamburg showed me a completely different face of German society which is believed to be very stiff. Not true. Well, at least, not in Hamburg.
The society in Hamburg is participating; it is involved and engaged. It has a very strong subculture which goes back to 80s. The residents constantly fight for their city and claim it back from the rich real estate speculators.
I remember having a real goosebumps moment as Beginner (a famous Hamburger hip hop band) had a gig for free in front of “Rote Flora” in the neighborhood of Schanzenviertel. Thousands of people gathered to celebrate (under the rain) the 25th anniversary of its occupation, saving it from being turned into just another musical theater. It has since become a meeting point for political awareness.
Luckily there are many more buildings and neighbourhoods like this in Hamburg, like St. Pauli, Harbour Street, Gezi Park Fiction, and Gängeviertel, among others. They all present themselves in the form of street art as well. You will be surprised at the creativity of this city when you see the works of street artists.
Here is a small collection
These two murals of Low Bros (two brothers Christoph und Florin Schmidt from Hamburg) can be seen in Gängeviertel where they started their artistic career. The mural on the left symbolises Gängeviertel itself, which is surrounded by modern architecture in the middle of a business centre, and today resists peacefully against modernisation which makes all cities look alike.
Also Awer, Senso and Tenia (together “Cani e Porci Crew”) whose art can be seen mostly in Milano and Berlin, were recently guests in Hamburg, Gängeviertel. By the way, before Cani and Porci Crew’s mural there were murals of Low Bros on this wall. Well, it is street art and it is not for eternity.
The street art of Ray de la Cruz, also a Hamburger artist, can be seen all around St. Pauli Harbour and Gezi Park Fiction, a community movement which managed to stop the City Administration to build an expensive building back in 1997 and today it is a public park for everyone. Ray DLC makes with his gratifies here clear “there is no place for hipsters in this city” and asks you if you’d go out with him by giving you three options: yes, no, maybe – till ALDI (a German supermarket).
It was probably the only street art left from Banksy in Germany. It was crossed (or destroyed – whatever you want to call it) by unknown who sprayed “Grafitti” over it.
Last but not least, when we talk about street art in Hamburg, we have to mention OZ who counts as the grandfather of German sprayers. OZ was famous for spraying smileys all over the city. Unfortunately, he died in 2014 while spraying. Rest in peace, OZ.
Main part of this text first appeared in the blog post "The Best Cities for Street Art in Europe" at Solitary Wanderer by Aleah Taboclaon.
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