Brussels artist seeks to halt demolition of street art hub Strokar Inside

Brussels artist seeks to halt demolition of street art hub Strokar Inside
Street artist and Brussels native jaune is one of hundreds of artists to have collaborated to transform a former supermarket building into major international street art centre. Credit: Jaune/Facebook

A Belgian street artist is seeking to save part of his artwork from oblivion by taking legal action against the looming demolition of a "unique" street art centre in Brussels.

Brussels native Jonathan Pauwels will attempt to block a decision to delete the art contained in the local through emergency legal proceedings, citing imminent damage to his art, his lawyer told La Dernière Heure.

Pauwels, who goes by his artistic name Jaune, is one of the hundreds of street artists to have jointly created a unique street art venue out of the empty location of a former Delhaize supermarket in Ixelles.

Featuring artworks from artists from the international and Belgian street art scenes, the centre drew hundreds of thousands of visitors since it first opened.

On 31 December, the urban art hub hosted an end-of-year and farewell party, offering revellers one last glimpse at the diverse works decorating its walls ahead of a planned demolition by the building's owner, who is looking to build an apartment complex on the site.

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"It would be sad to demolish Strokar Inside and to replace it with a big, modern block of apartments," Jaune said in a statement, adding that other artists had also spoken of taking action.

Jaune, who is known for his creative use of the urban property and his work featuring public sanitation workers, said the first step would be to prevent the artwork from being painted over in preparation for the demolition.

Strokar, the association running the urban art centre which Besix Red leased to them under a temporary contract, must follow a commitment to erasing all the art from the walls, a move Jaune said was "unnecessary," with building approvals still pending.

Since its creation, the centre has hosted conferences, guided expositions and mural painting courses, and has even attracted the attention of the international art scene.

"It's a unique place in Brussels, with so many artworks of artists from Brussels, Belgium and the international scene," he said, adding that the architecture of the original building was also worth protecting.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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