A new fresco has been unveiled in northern Brussels as part of a regional campaign to encourage more female residents to travel by bike in the Belgian capital.
For the fresco, which depicts a woman gliding along on her bike, her fair flowing behind her, artist Anthea Missy said she wanted to depict female cyclists riding through the city in a free, “cosmic” and “childlike” manner.
“I wanted to represent the little girl that is inside every woman, in a cosmic universe with cultural references that go back to 1980 and stretch into our time,” explained Missy. “Who is lifted up through the sensation of freedom that we have when we bike, with our hair in the wind.”
Finalised on Saturday and unveiled on the side of a building in Place Bockstael, in the northwest district of Laeken, the fresco is set to be inaugurated on 13 September as part of Brussels’ “Women Bike the City” campaign.
The campaign was launched by regional officials in Brussels seeking to boost the number of female cyclists in the streets of the Belgian capital, amid a wider boost to cycling as a transport alternative to cars.
According to the campaign, launched in collaboration with the non-profit Zij-kant, women account for only a third of all cyclists in Brussels, something which observers believe is linked to feelings of road insecurity as well as to the unequal division of household chores between couples.
“The proportion of women on a bike in the city is a good indicator of how safe residents feel the roads are,” Florine Cuignet of the Gracq cycling association said.
“They are also more likely to be the ones who drive children to school or who go shopping, which are activities which require safe infrastructure if they were to be done by bike,” she added.
To inaugurate the fresco, the campaign will organise a journey through the city which will depart from square Jo Cox in the city centre before reaching the fresco at Place Bockstael.