Do you want to discover Brussels like the locals do, without the hordes of tourists? The Brussels’ Comic Book Route might be the perfect opportunity to discover the capital of Europe through fresh eyes. Bloemenhof by Brecht Evens is the latest addition.
A year ago Brussels added a new mural to cheer up its dusty city walls. Artist Brecht Evens painted a fresco at the corner of the Grootsermentstraat and the Wagenstraat in the Bloemenhof quarter, aptly named ‘Bloemenhof’ (which means Flower court). You can find it in between the canal and the Dansaert street. At around 400 square meters, Bloemenhof is among the largest ones of all 56 comic strip murals in Brussels.
Contrary to other comic strip walls, the mural doesn’t depict Belgium’s most famous comic book heroes, but an urban garden across several walls. Evens, who is a renowned comic book artist and illustrator, uses his typical figures and colorful designs to paint a breathtaking picture that is supposed to brighten the Brussels’ neighborhood. The artist painted alongside seven others for four months to finish this piece.
Breating life into the neighborhood
“Contrary to all previous comic walls, this one doesn’t show a character, but a landscape that is meant to convey an atmosphere. Because of that, you can recognize several destinations in it,” explained David Weytsman, responsible for Urban Revaluation, at the official opening of the mural. “These colorful flowers are in harmony with the small city park of the district.”
Not only will the wall show a beautiful garden, but the small garden that was already there is being reconstructed and redesigned. All these changes took place in the context of the ‘Bloemenhof district contract’, which is meant to breathe new life into the neighborhood. Five of the large social housing blocks will be demolished and replaced with new, more modern units.
Student Marnick Claes (22) thinks all these comic book walls really help to liven up the city. “For kids it’s always fun to see their favorite comic book figures, and for adults it’s a nice nostalgic feeling. But this piece of the garden in particular feels really like art, like a painting on the streets. Free, and for everyone. I think it’s wonderful.”
This article was first published on Brussels Express.
Text: Maïthé Chini