There is something that just brightens up your day with simply a splash of colour. Ever noticed how just wearing brightly coloured clothes will perk you up, even when the weather is dull and miserable? Yes, it’s that effect I get when I am exploring places with bright and evocative street art. Street Art today, I guess isn’t what is used to be. It’s become more though provoking. It’s no longer just some street kids in dark hoodies that leave their tags all over the streets. I love the political side of it, focus on current affair as well as social aspects of it. Throw in a little colour and I fall absolutely in love with it all. When you div deep into it, it’s no longer just about the message the art is trying to convey, but the personal style each of the street artist use. I may not know a lot of the street artists’ names but when I can recognise some of the street artist’s pieces when I travel I get excited. Pieces by Stik, Vhil’s use of small explosives to create distinctive portraits, Banksy’s political art not to mention his new installation in a form of a hotel in Palestine call the Walled Off Hotel. Then there are big and rather ambitious murals. I think Kiefernstraße fits in the latter. Kiefernstraße is a street in the Flingern-Süd district of Düsseldorf that became notorious in the 1980s for squatting. Kiefernstraße has a rather colour past and I guess the street art somewhat represents that in a way.
Kiefernstraße apartment blocks were originally built for workers working within the steelworks factory in the 1900s but when the steelworks closed, the neighbourhood soon went downhill with the lack of investment in the area. By the 1980 it was the only place that people could get affordable housing, not long after that, it was the place where the government was send refugees but without further investment and lack of affordable housing the blocks were soon inhibited by squatters. Some 60 apartments were taken over and soon the squatters won a settlement to legalise there stay in the apartments. With all it eventful past, there was a sense of community in how people in the neighbourhood rally to have rights to stay in the apartment. Much of the street art in Kiefernstraße has come about because of this community spirit. In one of the pictures below you will see clothes on the line with a note. Instead of giving items to charity, people here leave items hanging out on the line for anyone to take and use. That were items go to homes that will get a better use out of them.
Murals and artwork in the Kiefernstraße are also undertaken as a community by the residents. The crossword on the white building was a collaborative effort by the residents in that building. I absolutely love that they painted the kindergarten with cartoons on the outside. I am sure it gives the kids something beautiful to look forward to each day. I love that the murals and street art in Kiefernstraße are not just street art, they have a story to tell, it’s also brings the community together. It’s also played a role in elevating the neighbourhood from this rundown neighbourhood infamously known for squatters into something that now draws in tourist. “Kiefernstraße is now home to 800 people from 40 nations, including punks, doctors, and lawyers. It has long been a meeting point for alternative culture. The house fronts are painted with images refecting some of the ideas and aspirations of the residents”
If you are a lover or everything beautifully colourful and yet with so much substance, then Kiefernstraße is one to add to your list when in Dusseldorf. We rented a car when we visited as it was easier to move around when we were in the city for a friend’s wedding. The street is easy to find but if you are not driving you will be happy to know that there is a metro station only a couple of blocks away.
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