At the beginning of April, the Belgian coastal town of Ostend hosted the 4th annual Crystal Ship Festival, which turns a city best-known for its long beach and promenade into an open-air Street Art museum. Continuously working to add new murals, installations, and interventions by the most relevant contemporary urban artists, festival curator, Bjørn Van Poucke, selected 14 international artists to create a new series of exciting public space works with the theme The Dictatorship of Art in mind.

Proposing an idea that aligns with the German artist, Jonathan Meese, who states that art is the most radical thing in your life, the festival encouraged the artist to take over the streets and show how art can both make a difference and initiate change. We've already reported about the two new pieces that Escif painted only a few days ahead of the official beginning of the festival, but this time, we wanted to provide an overview of other works created during the first two weeks of April.

Wasted Rita 18 Albert I Promenade Egmond Dobbelaere

Starting with smaller works and interventions, we loved the quasi-roadsign and billboard works installed by Wasted Rita. As a result of a raw self-reflection process and a dark but honest look at everyday life, the Portuguese artist installed a series of works that speak of desolation, gender equality, and consumerist society. Speaking of smaller-scale works, our friend Helen Bur created an extensive series of tiny portrait pieces that captured locals walking from behind, on actual locations where they were encountered.

Helen Bur 33 Egmond Dobbelaere Oosthelling

Working in a similar format, Jaune painted one of his biggest pieces to date near the beachfront, creating an entire alternative mini-city next to the popular promenade. Crystal Wagner and Tom Herck created new sculptural works that are continuing their signature work, both addressing the environmental and social issues.

Jaune 54 Egmond Dobbelaere

Working in a bigger scale, renowned artists, such as Miss Van, David Walker, Case Maclaim, Leon Keer, Lonac, Marina Capdevila, Mohamed l’Ghacham, or Paola Delfin, painted their latest murals covering a variety of themes and showcasing a wide range of visual languages, technical approaches, and concepts.

Leon Keer Algomas 10

Leon Keer created an effective anamorphic mural that mixes his Dutch cultural tradition with environmental awareness, Lonac showed the possibilities of his clean realist style on a massive scale, just as Mohamed l’Ghacham transferred his rich painterly technique into large scale, while Mexican artist Paola Delfin painted the largest piece of the festival, spanning jaw-dropping 40m in height.

Photo credits by Arne Deboosere, Egmond Dobbelaere, Henrik Haven & Algomas