Melbourne – streets and arts

The street lamps light up parts of the colourful wall in the twilight highlighting words here, pictures there. People walk down the side street, some are just passing through as they do every day, others point out pictures from the walls and stop to take photos. We sit on the curb watching the people, the street, the walls.

In 2017 when I spent some time in Australia, I went down to Melbourne for a weekend. The reason for the visit was the Vincent Van Gogh exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. It seemed like a good reason to take a quick flight to Melbourne and book two nights in a cheap hostel with a friend. 

The highlight of the weekend was, of course, the visit to NGV where the exhibition Van Gogh and the Seasons explored the artist’s connection to nature – the queue was long so we were definitely not the only people interested to see his works. But looking at a few paintings, no matter how amazing, will not take all weekend, so we roamed the city, visited bars and cafes, and dropped by other museums as well. 

However, the most memorable thing about Melbourne was the street art. Perhaps, because we have already tuned to the artsy wavelengths thanks to Van Gogh, we were especially interested in the graffiti, murals and other art scattered around the city.

Melbourne is well known for street art and you can find maps and lists online that help you to plan your street art tour: When I type “Melbourne street Art” to Google, the first web hit is “Where to find Melbourne’s best street art”. But I don’t think you need anyone else to plan your walking routes. The best street art is surprising. The point of it is that it is constantly changing and evolving. It is not supposed to be available forever. It is certainly not supposed to be removed from its surroundings and stored in a museum, like some of Banksy’s work. Of course, this is just my opinion, feel free to challenge me. 

So, I am not going to tell you where to find the best street art in Melbourne, I simply want to let you know that the city is full of art and if you do visit, you should keep your eyes open. Some of the images are amazing and impressive. Some are dreadful: one of the oddest art pieces we spotted was actually framed and proudly exhibited in a public building. It was not Van Gogh I can assure you. 

And some street art is simply clever and can make you smile just because you did not expect it.

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