About

Strook - The Crystal Ship 2017

Summary

In 2016, The Crystal Ship dropped anchor in Ostend. Ever since, the arts festival has turned the coastal town into Belgium’s leading open-air gallery, with over a dozen world-renowned street artists setting sail for it every year.

Over the past five years, the festival has played host to artists like Axel Void (USA), Paola Delfín (Mexico), Escif (ES), Miss Van (FR), Sebas Velasco (ES), Elian (AR), Wasted Rita (PT) and of course also local heroes like Roa, Jaune and Strook.

They have covered Ostend with murals, sculptures, installations, and just about everything you don’t expect to see in a popular holiday spot. Of course, Ostend is much more than that. It is a vibrant seaport city, and it’s cutting-edge arts festivals like The Crystal Ship that really set it apart from the rest.

History

In 2018, US art magazine Juxtapoz described The Crystal Ship as “an art festival that is quickly becoming one of the major annual street art events in the world”. Today, it is just that. Having seen the light of day in 2016, every year, The Crystal Ship paints the town of Ostend red (and blue, and green, and yellow, and quite possibly every other colour you can imagine) by inviting a host of acclaimed street artists to get inspired by its people, landscape, and heritage.

Now in its fifth year, the arts festival has left its mark(s) all across town – with both gigantic murals on the side of apartment buildings and much smaller interventions on the facades of nondescript houses. It brings neighbourhoods together and gets people talking about art and community – all year round.

Mohamed l'Ghacham - The Crystal Ship 2019
Bjorn Van Poucke - The Crystal Ship

CURATOR

In 2011, Bjørn Van Poucke put together the first Belgian street art festival. Numerous (street) art projects later, he was approached by the city of Ostend to develop what would become the country’s leading street art event, The Crystal Ship. He is also the author of two best-selling books on the subject: Street Art Today (2016) and Street Art Today 2 (2019), published with Lannoo.

Since 2019, Bjørn asks participating artists and visitors to reflect on a theme. In 2019, that theme was The Dictatorship of Art. In 2020, it’s Home Is Where the Heart Is.

Follow the creative endeavours of Bjørn on Instagram or Facebook.


From our collection

Wasted Rita © Egmond Dobbelaere

Wasted Rita

Tom Herck © Egmond Dobbelaere

Tom Herck