International artists begin preparations for Crystal Ship festival in Ostend

Ostend is preparing to host the international artists who will make up this year's edition of The Crystal Ship open-air art festival. Artists will work on their creations in and around the city centre and unveil their art to the public on 6 April.

The festival, which started in 2016, has turned Ostend into Belgium's leading open-air gallery. Every year, world-renowned street artists share their creations on the sides of buildings or with sculptures and installations. From Monday, artists will work on-site in Ostend's city centre.

More than a dozen new artworks will brighten the buildings of the coastal city in what the US magazine Juxtapoz described as "an art festival that is quickly becoming one of the major annual street art events in the world”. The city uses this event to bring neighbourhoods together and open a year-long dialogue about art.

Artist highlights

Artists this year include Canadian Katie Green, who focuses on people and emotions that often remain hidden, ranging from those with disabilities to those who struggle with substance abuse. Through her interactive work, she asks people to draw on masks, which she then incorporates into her large-scale watercolour pieces.

Returning favourite Brussels-based artist Jaune has been with the festival since its inception. He brings humour and colour to his eye-catching stencil work portraying city workers. However, this year, he is aiming for a new theme with a modern twist on James Ensor's The Baths at Ostend.

Mural, bird gets cleaned by men, Belgian street art artists Bue and Jaune, The Crystal Ship Festival 2018 © IMAGEBROKER
Mural, bird gets cleaned by men, Belgian street art artists Bue and Jaune, The Crystal Ship Festival 2018 © IMAGEBROKER

Belgian painter Ilke Cop, who recently won the prestigious Gaverprijs, will join the line-up of artists this year. Originally a fashion designer, she presents strong imagery with a focus on feminism.

The Crystal Ship offers guided tours, an app with information about the artists and their work and a downloadable map of the works.


#FlandersNewsService | Art by Moulaye Sarr from The Crystal Ship 2023 edition © BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER

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Ostend prepares for The Crystal Ship annual outdoor art festival
Ostend has been home to The Crystal Ship open-air art festival since 2016 when Belgian curator and author Bjørn Van Poucke was approached to...

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