The Crystal Ship Street Art Festival Making Big Waves in Ostend, Belgium 2023

The Crystal Ship, curated by Bjørn Van Poucke (All About Things), has dropped its anchor once again for another successful street art festival on the streets of Ostend, turning the coastal town into Belgium’s leading open-air gallery.

Local and international urban artists invited to The Crystal Ships’ eighth edition were; Cleon PetersonSlim SafontPat PerryMoulaye SarrMOMOMobstrJoëlle DuboisJuaneElléna LourensJulien de Casabianca and Gviiie.

LA-based artist Cleon Peterson painted in his signature style, whose chaotic and violent paintings show clashing figures in a struggle between power and submission in the fluctuating architecture of contemporary society.

Slim Safont travelled from Barcelona to paint inside a school and educational centre, so he chose a positive message to the students regarding thinking, meeting and relating around the paint.

“The mural intends to represent the new masculine identities that have been increasingly growing in recent years, largely thanks to the ability of the new generations to propose and defend new thoughts and identities that break with the highly predefined hegemonic masculinity. The mural presents three young male adolescents who establish a friendly relationship but show each other physical contact of affection and care. Friendship between boys tends to always maintain a barrier or physical and emotional distance when it comes to showing it to the other. With the mural, we intend to propose and make visible to students a form of masculine interaction that breaks with the unique idea of a strong, brave and tough man who should not show his feelings or vulnerability. “

Slim Safont

American artist Pat Perry primarily paints, draws, photographs, and implements large-scale outdoor murals worldwide, often partitioning the work into different spheres. For The Crystal Ship, Pat painted a scene influenced by the ocean, including beachgoers, but also contains subtle references to Ostend artists such as James Ensor and Léon Spilliaert.


Ostend’s sister city is Banjul, the capital of Gambia, so this year, The Crystal Ship want to celebrate their connection and invite an artist from Banjul to Ostend every year. This year they asked high-profile painter Moulaye Sarr, who fashions traditional African patterns back to their essence.

American artist Daev MOMO was invited to paint at this year’s The Crystal Ship, and his murals are exceptionally dynamic. They are based on collage, computer code, and seriality, which came to form the basis of his visual language. With this mural, MOMO spoke about a little curiosity with colour and the spaces in between. MOMO requested a few colours to make blends or steps. In between these vivid colours, he uses a grey paint that acts as a neutral, so you don’t read them as grey in this spectrum.

British artist Mobstr brings his critical, sarcastic and fun interventions to Ostend with three murals around Negative space: DETACHED, PAST and LARGE-smaller.

Joëlle Dubois made a mural based on one of her previous paintings, a small canvas of 20x15cm that was stolen at the vernissage. This huge mural can’t be stolen, and with this much attention looks like the canvas may be too hot to handle! Joëlle Dubois was guided by street artist Han Coussement.

Local legend and The Crystal Ship mascot since 2016! Belgian artist Juane was back out on the streets of Ostend, leaving his working characters dotted about.

The Crystal Ship has established a street art festival exchange. In 2023, Elléna Lourens represented South Africa. Lourens creates incredibly poetic murals with as few lines and colours as possible, making her an undeniable breath of fresh air in the street art landscape.

Spanish artist Gviiie was invited to paint his own mural for the crystal ship. Here he paints a woman holding a bunch of roses…

French artist Julien de Casabianca takes characters from historical paintings out of context and pastes them onto the streets, giving them a different life and meaning. The artist gained access to the Mu.Zee archive for The Crystal Ship.

Along with the murals, Doug Gillen from Juxapoz invited Belgian stencil artist Jaune, legendary street art photographer Martha Cooper and founder and curator Mélissa Cucci Baz-Art on the couch for a panel discussion!

The Crystal Ship has hosted another great festival, adding many more murals to the wonderful seaport of Ostend.

Photo credit Jules Cesure and Arne Deboosere (Image caption)



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