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September 16, 2020

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Wall comes down but graffiti alive

The largest graffiti wall in downtown Shanghai has been demolished to make way for a new shopping complex.

The 600-meter wall on Moganshan Road, which featured hundreds graffiti art created by artists from home and abroad, has been torn down to open up the riverside space for the commercial project.

The “1,000 Trees” project, dubbed the city’s Hanging Gardens of Babylon, has been testing its illumination system at night. It will open to the public early next year with restaurants, museums, galleries and entertainment sites.

The wall along Moganshan Road, which was one of the earliest sites for graffiti art in China, dates back to 2005. It became one of the city’s most popular attractions, drawing not only artists but also tourists from around the world.

As people lamented the loss of the graffiti wall, neighboring M50 Art Park said artists were welcome to create art in the park to continue the graffiti tradition.

A “Keep Shaking” campaign initiated by the park and graffiti artists encourages painters to move their art creations to the walls, houses and other structures in the park.

An exhibition invites visitors to appreciate some of the new works mainly painted by artists who once drew on the former wall. “Graffiti should never be like flowers growing in a greenhouse. To be removed and recreated is part of the nature of the graffiti art,” said Lewis Le, art director of the Bkstore brand and curator of the campaign.

“Those old paintings should not be kept like specimens and graffiti painting should grow across the city to attract talented artists to paint freely.”

The campaigners are calling for more sites, art galleries and museums to offer a platform for young graffiti artists.

Zhou Bin, general manager of the M50 Culture and Innovation Co, said the campaign aims to protect the free art creations amid the city’s urban renewal projects. He said the park along with the new graffiti paintings is expected to become a key attraction along the Suzhou Creek waterfront.


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