While graffiti and street art have a bad reputation, they also have the power to transform cities and neighbourhoods, expose social woes, start important discussions, and bring art to the masses. The likes of Banksy, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Shepard Fairey have challenged our idea of what constitutes street art. Why should art be reserved for galleries and why can’t it exist in our daily lives as we’re walking to work?

Christchurch is filled with bewildering street art. Within the city, there’s a dichotomy between graffiti vandalism, which the city aims to remove, and commissioned street art, which has been an integral artistic element of the rebuild. In fact, the city has commissioned many pieces to either beautify the rubble.

A few Saturdays ago, Nick and I were out on our usual post-market bicycle trip when we remembered that the street art festival, SPECTRUM was on at the YCMA until April. We were both seriously impressed with the exhibition and extensive information about graffiti in New Zealand. I know a little bit about street art in North America and the UK, so it was cool to see how New Zealand

The coolest thing about the festival is that you don’t even have to visit the gallery on Hereford Street (but you should!) because all the artists have been working across the city streets transforming blank walls into works of art.

Over the past two years, 25 huge murals have been produced as a part of Oi YOU! shows.

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