Sixty murals across Croydon town centre inspiring urban art

The RISEfestival saw 10 days of art bursting onto Croydon streets this month.

Sixty new murals and installations, created by some of the world’s leading urban artists, arrived in the town centre.

London’s largest international urban art festival has hosted free events for the community such as walking tours, film screenings, talks, workshops and parties.

Event founder Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison said: “We’ve been working for several years on public realm projects that bring art to people who might not typically engage with it.

“By gaining permission from landowners and businesses across the town centre, we have been able to offer walls to artists which they can utilise to showcase their work in the streets of Croydon.”

He said the events programme was designed to engage, inspire and educate people on urban art.

“It’s incredible to think that for some people, this may be the first time they’ve really connected with art since school,” he said.

Many people assumed urban art was ‘just graffiti’ when it was far broader.

Mr Zuchowski-Morrison, who also owns RISEgallery, said Croydon was going through an exciting period of change with a lot of investment being made in the borough.

“For residents, cultural projects like this give everyone the chance to become actively involved in it’s changing reputation,” he said.

“For non-residents, London’s largest international urban art festival taking place in Croydon is a great opportunity for them to come and see what the borough has to offer and the changing face of the neighbourhood.”

RISEfestival did not want to stifle the creativity of artists by giving specific commissions or themes.

He added: “Art has long been used to question the status quo and make people think and we want to encourage that creative freedom.”

But since the art is in a public place, artists have to go through a submission process beforehand.

Giacomo Bufarini, also known as RUN, is one artist featuring in the RISEfestival. His mural The Thinker Child can be seen on the old post office building in Billinton Hill.

He said: “The Thinker Child is a work that reclaim the stars, the moon and the planet, the sky and the ground of the earth.

“When I see metropoles that are losing their identity or are embracing the identity dictated by corporation, technology and cold inhuman developing, I feel the duty of gifting the citizens with something that makes them go back to their origin.

“We are humans still and we always will be.”

He said the piece was a bookmark on our history or pre-history to remind us that we are made of feelings and stardust.

It had a deep meaning to him and he had a mission to share that with others.

He added: “The inspiration is an anti technology, is anti capitalistic, anti Instagram, anti developing.

“My dream is not to see a new high-rise going up, cold and made out of glass.

“But instead is to see trees and wild field, oceans and wild lands, and to see people taking good care of those things, and feeling proud to be the planet heart inhabitants. “

Related Articles