A lively city can be recognised by its street art. If that’s true, then Ghent is more vibrant than ever before! The rebellious city’s streets have always been a much loved canvas for imaginative paintings full of colour and emotions. We bet you will have a completely different opinion about street art after this walk.
Be inspired by Ghent’s ‘Sorry, not sorry' street art plan to walk or cycle along the colourful graffiti art in the city. The Ghent Guides are happy to give you a little sneak peek.
3,3 km - 4400 steps
Side wall of Vooruit – Bonom
The walk start at arts centre VIERNULVIER (former Vooruit). On Vooruit’s side wall, you can see Bonom's only drawing in Ghent. Vincent Glowinski from Brussels is mainly known for his often unexpected erotic drawings. Next to Vooruit’s modernistic terrace you can spot the weird bird he drew in Ghent. parcoursstreetart.brussels/en/artistes/bonom/
Tip. Arts centre VIERNULVIER is a Flemish art institute offering a stage to various art disciplines. This historical complex was opened in 1913 by the cooperative Samenwerkende Maatschappij Vooruit.
Next to the Backstage – Smok
Across the street, you can see the Backstage culture centre, which is located in the former printing office ‘Het Licht’. Next to the Backstage building, you can see one of Smok’s works. Antwerp artist Bart Boudewijns is known for painting portraits and lifelike animals. Next to the Backstage building, you can see a monumental 3D artwork by Artoon, alias Toon van Ishoven from Antwerp.
Tip. The editors’ office of the newspaper De Vooruit was accommodated here in 1930 and the façade was lit during the night to show that people were working in the building.
Side wall of café De Hoeve – Cee Pil
Walk towards café De Hoeve. A creation by Cee Pil can be spotted on a narrow side wall of this café. The surrealistic images of 2 animals flowing into one another are very recognisable. Here he painted the ‘Baterpillarman’: Batman in the shape of a caterpillar.
On 3 garage doors – A Squid called Sebastian
This artist was born in Boston in 1981, but moved to Ghent as a child. He graduated as a Master in cartoon drawing at Luca School of Arts. He also designs tattoos. We can see people with snorkels reading in a living room, which is a reference to the Coronavirus lockdown.
House N° 91 – Lobster
At number 91, you can see a work by Lobster Robin. He is an Antwerp native with his home base in Ghent and his message is to remain humble, appreciate nature and open your eyes. Lobster brings some street art colours to the otherwise fairly grey student district. www.wallinofficial.be/nl/artiesten/lobster-robin.
Tip. Dating from 1942, the Booktower is an iconic building designed by Henry Van de Velde. The Ghent University library is accommodated in the 66 m high building. There is a bronze Fox Terrier all the way at the top, but you have to know it 😉
Hoveniersberg – Kitsune Jolene
At Hoveniersberg, you can see a work by Kitsune Jolene. This young woman from East Flanders mainly paints portraits of women, animals, fauna and flora mixed with references to other cultures and mythology. Her pseudonym Kitsune, for example, is a reference to a Japanese mythological fox that can live up to a hundred years and changes shape into a young woman. www.kitsunejolene.com.
Past the bus stop – Kitsune Jolene
It’s a comforting image of a student, wrapped up in a warm blanket in a room with sansevierias.
Jacob Jordaensstraat - Smithe
At the end of Sint-Pietersnieuwsstraat, cross the street and go to Jacob Jordaensstraat via Florbertusstraat and Kazernestraat. This is where we can see a creation by Smithe. Smithe, alias Luis Enrique, lives and works in Mexico City and draws inspiration from Japanese animation, 1950s graphic style and science fiction films. Do we see one face? Or more than one? This work was created for Ghent's first 'sorry not sorry' festival in 2016. More information can be found on Smitheone.tumblr.com
Victor Hortastraat - Jesus Benitez
On the corner of Victor Hortastraat, you can see a large work by Jesus Benitez. The artist, also known as Dhear, lives in Mexico City as well. He draws inspiration from science fiction and outer space to depict the future. Do we see a naked young lady, or are there more of them? Will you count them? www.widewalls.ch
Tip. Tip. Two water towers from 1880 and a new one. Architects G. and D. Bontinck (1975-1977) designed the new tower. The two old water towers belong to the oldest ones in Belgium: two iron basins rest on heavy brick outer walls and have top ventilation to avoid underpressure when emptied. They are also protected by woodwork.
Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K.) - Danny Matthys
Walk to Citadelpark via Kunstlaan. On the side of the S.M.A.K museum, you can see a work by Danny Matthys, which is not graffiti, but art: ‘Olam’ consists of dozens of life-size busts in pigmented concrete and is anchored to the left side of the museum’s façade. ‘Olam’ literally means "crossing boarders”. It was originally meant to be a recumbent work, but it was mounted to the façade at the request of Jan Hoet.
Tip. On the Citadel gate, you can read: Nemo me impune lacesset (Nobody will taunt me unpunished). These strong words were left here by William I, king of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1815 until 1830.
Follow the path, first to the right and then to the left. You can see a creation by Evert Debusschere on the side of the ICC conference centre. This artist from Courtrai obtained a Master's degree from Luca School of Arts in Ghent. He draws inspiration from modern life, trains, vehicles, cityscapes, history and fantasy. Look for the many different figures in this work! Can you spot animals? Is there a link with the park? With the city? With Van Eyck?
Botanical garden and the Ghent University Museum (GUM) – ROA
Cross Emile Clauslaan to the botanical garden and the Ghent University Museum (GUM) An enormous work by Roa can be seen on the side wall: He's a world famous anonymous Ghent artist. He designed this stack of skeletons specifically for the museum. From top to bottom, you can see an elephant, a rhino, a grizzly bear and an okapi. www.gum.be; wikipedia/roa
Take your time to discover the beautiful botanical garden.
Tip. Over 10,000 plant species can be found in the 2.75 hectare botanical garden. During your visit, you can learn about special plants or just take a relaxing walk in a beautiful setting.
Walk via Hofbouwlaan to Ter Platen, cross the bridge and go down the stairs. You can find a JAM here, which is a collection of works, in this case by Bue, Mc Gyver, Resto, Duder1, Katoir, Kymo One, Malf and others. On the other side, you’ll see a very long pencil created by an unknown artist.
Tip. Across the street, you can see the Peperbus (pepper pot) tower, which got its name from its typical shape. This used to be a guard tower that was part of the 16th-century city wall. The current ring road around Ghent roughly follows the route of those old city walls.
Stalhof - A Squid Called Sebastian
Walk in the direction of Stalhof via the Muinkschelde canal and the Muinkbrug bridge. You can discover a creation by A Squid Called Sebastian on the rear wall of the Liberal Archives Liberas. This work was created at the request of the Overpoort tappers.
Sint-Pietersplein - Anouk De Clercq
You end up in Overpoort, where you turn right towards Sint-Pietersplein square. You have now reached Ghent's highest point (29 m)! Walk to the gate around the steps leading to the underground car park. Multimedia artist Anouk De Clercq created a library filled with books on one of the car park's walls. She makes the connection between knowledge and historical meaning with this work. www.portapak.be/wikipedia
Tip. Do you still have some time left? Take a look in the beautiful Our Lady of St Peter's Church. This church is considered one of the masterpieces of architect Pieter Huyssens, who drew inspiration from St Peter's Basilica in Rome. It’s deemed to be one of the highlights of baroque architecture in the Southern Netherlands.