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Graffiti artists in Taiwan find safe spaces in the city to express themselves. See pics

More parts of the island have welcomed legal graffiti zones as Taiwan seeks to cast itself as a hub for creativity and design.

art-and-culture Updated: Apr 11, 2018 14:32 IST

Agence France-Presse, Taipei
A man and child walking past street art painted over the shutters of a shop in Taipei's Ximen district.
A man and child walking past street art painted over the shutters of a shop in Taipei's Ximen district.(AFP)
         

At the edge of a bustling shopping district, Taiwan’s graffiti artists are finding a safe haven for their art at a revitalised park. More parts of the island have welcomed legal graffiti zones as Taiwan seeks to cast itself as a hub for creativity and design.

One of the best known is the Taipei Cinema Park, just blocks away from the neon-lit Ximending district -- the heart of youth culture in the capital. Adorning walls around the plaza and along the surrounding alleyways, colourful murals have transformed a once derelict area into a beguiling visitor attraction.

A man walks past a street art mural in Taipei's Ximen district.
A man walks past a street art mural in Taipei's Ximen district. ( AFP )

Not only is graffiti in the zone sanctioned by authorities, artists can also rest assured their artwork will be seen and respected, said Jimmy Cheng, who manages the graffiti space. “There are a lot of different types of graffiti. Some are worth preserving,” he told AFP.

A motorcyclist riding past a mural in Taipei's Ximen district.
A motorcyclist riding past a mural in Taipei's Ximen district. ( AFP )

“If there’s no management of a space, then good artwork will get covered up. I think that’s a shame,” said Cheng, himself a former graffiti artist. Artists are required to show their portfolio before they are allowed to spray on the park’s walls.

Street art on a building in Taipei's Ximen district.
Street art on a building in Taipei's Ximen district. ( AFP )

Cheng said that proper curation of the park’s walls helped to prevent arguments between rival artists. “If no one manages it, then it’s a constant battle of ‘I’ll cover yours if you cover mine’,” he said. The Taipei Cinema Park also hosts events such as street dance and tattooing, and regularly invites international artists to spray on its walls.

Graffiti also abounds along Taipei’s riverside, where elaborate pieces can often be spotted under bridges and on dike walls.

Follow @htlifeandstyle for more

First Published: Apr 11, 2018 14:29 IST

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