I’m a big fan of street art and don’t really understand people that are against it. The draw, for me, is not just that it gives cities and spaces more color and vibrancy but also the fact that it’s taking art out to the streets. Not everyone has the desire to go to museums and in some cases they’ve become so expensive that manycan’t afford visiting them, even though they wanted to go. You don’t have to worry about feeling out of place at a gallery or like a bull in a china shop when the art is part of your everyday surroundings.
There are people that claim that street art not really art or that the subject matter is not inspired or important enough but the great thing about art is that it’s open to interpenetration. Personally I’m not really into artsy freestyle jazz (the fact that I don’t know what the genre or the sub-genre is called exposes me as a complete jazz noob and I promise never to talk about jazz again) but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist or that I have the right to tell anyone they shouldn’t be into it. Additionally I can, and do, appreciate the artistry of very talented jazz musicians even though I don’t completely understand their end product. I feel the same can apply to any art – even though you don’t necessarily like it you don’t have to dislike it either and you can appreciate it for what it is.
Having said that I cannot for the life of me understand how someone could not like the pieces in the new Wall Poetry series that are dotted all over the downtown Reykjavík right now because they are absolutely amazing. Beautiful. In my humble opinion of course.
Wall Poetry is a collaboration between Iceland Airwaves, a fine local music festival that takes place in Reykjavík the first week of November each year, and Berlin’s Urban Nation. With this project, which was curated by Yasha Young, the aim was to get creative minds from different genres (music and street art) to collaborate and “encourage artistic and creative exchange far beyond the inside of a gallery or the recording studio.”
Here you can learn more about Wall Poetry.
Missing on this list is the collaboration between Ugly Brothers and Gísli Pálmi, inspired by the song “Blank” by Gísli Pálmi but it was not ready at the time this post was written.
Experience Wall Poetry for yourself
All the photos in this post were taken by me on my walk around Reykjavík yesterday. I had heard about this project and wanted to see it for myself so I made it my mission to see them all at one go to really get into the experience. Doing so I noticed that this is a great way to experience the city and I would recommend you you do your own little self-guided Wall Poetry walking tour. To make it easier for you, I marked all of the murals on the map below, with a suggested itinerary and other places you might want to hit on your way. I also added some good places to get a snack on the way because you’re on vacation after all and you deserve to treat yourself!
I suggest you start your walk at the Ugly Brother’s piece next to Austurvöllur square. The walk will take you just over an hour but I would suggest you allocate at least two hours so you can check out everything you see on the way and listen to the music without feeling rushed. If you have a bus pass or a Reykjavík Welcome Card you can also take bus number 14 from Grandakaffi to Lækjartorg to save some time. Just keep in mind that you will miss most of the charming old harbor that way.
Below the map you will find a Spotify playlist with all the songs that inspired these pieces. I would suggest you download it to your phone and take it with you on your walk.
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