Oi You! Adelaide Festival Celebrates Street Art

Art, Arts & Culture, Opinion, Reviews — By on May 9, 2013 8:44 AM

BY ELYSE WILLIAMS

It’s been a big year for Adelaide art so far, and it only appears to be getting better. The Oi You! Urban Art Festival has brought over 70 pieces from some of the world’s best urban and street artists to town — including 22 from renowned talent, Banksy.

It’s not unknown that street art goes unappreciated, and in the city’s attempt to bring colour to our streets; the festival is intended to showcase many imaginative works.

Housed at the Artspace Gallery on top of the Festival Centre, a taste of what is inside is given before entering: installations that really do force questions of daily life surround the gallery. Trolleys, garbage bins, knitted patterns on poles and paste-up posters featuring Kim Jong-Un and rocket starter kits are numerous. One can’t help but be drawn in for more.

Next, you’re faced with chalk and sharpie walls around the entrance: an open invitation to create art in public. And then you walk in.

The room is filled with paintings lining every wall, and it is here that you truly begin to realise street artists have raw talent that is going unnoticed. While the paintings themselves aren’t entirely street art, each painting displays a range of skills that make many jaws drop.

From Milton Springsteen’s overly realistic acrylic paintings of the Cookie Monster in the background of a classic, to the comic book-like prints by Faile filled with pin-up women, and to the satirical and topical creations of Banksy, one can’t help but picture their gifts painted across a huge cement wall on the side of a building.

A whole variety of worldly perceptions are also explored, through drawings of children by Antony Micallef, in prints of skulls and guns by D*Face, and mixed media pieces of the world by Swoon. It provides the chance to see our planet through someone else’s eyes.

And then we come to the wall of works by Banksy. The skill he demonstrates with stencils is astounding, and the detail of each painting, despite the simplicity of many, is still overwhelming. You are witnessing works by a genius. Really, very few people would have the smarts (or balls) to paint a monkey as the Queen.

But don’t get too excited… It doesn’t take long to walk past 22 paintings.

It was hard not to walk in with expectations that this was going to be an exhibition of incredible street art. It wasn’t. Personally, it was a little disappointing in that sense. However, as you see the other skills these artist have, you can discover that urban and street art teaches more than simply creating with a can of spray paint; it really should be cherished.

Overall the exhibition was, simply put, quite amazing so long as you don’t get your hopes up. But, as it’s only a gold coin donation entry, you’re certainly not going to lose out.

And you can still witness it for free, too, as artists will be painting murals around the city all month. Check out the Facebook page for a map. https://www.facebook.com/OiYouStreetArt?fref=ts

The exhibition continues until June 2 at the Artspace Gallery.

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