2018-2021: The origins: POW! WOW! Rotterdam
POW! WOW! Was founded by artist Jasper Wong in 2010 in Hong Kong. In 2011, the first edition of POW! WOW! as a week-long festival was organized in his native state Hawaii. The POW! WOW! mural festival has since grown into a global leader of the street art movement.
Thousands of internationally renowned contemporary, street, and graffiti artists have contributed, creating large scale works of public art in 17 cities around the world. POW! WOW! can be found in American cities such as Long Beach, Worcester and Washington DC, and outside of the USA in (among others) Japan, Korea, Israel, Guam, Taiwan and Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
2022: ALL CAPS.
As of 2022 the festival will continue with a new name, design and logo. The new name is ALL CAPS. The organization behind POW! WOW! Rotterdam has announced at the end of 2021 that it will seperate itself from the international POW! WOW! family. As a result, it will not continue under their new name ‘Worldwide Walls’. The new name ALL CAPS has many meanings. It is a nod to the ‘caps’, the nozzles on spray cans from the graffiti world, but also to typography. It stands for “capitals only,” meaning only capital letters are used. Many graffiti writers choose to work that way. In addition, the name ALL CAPS is an ode to the late hip-hop icon MF DOOM, who also preferred to use capitals to stylize his name at all times. He even named a song after that preference.
The first edition under the name ALL CAPS, also the fifth anniversary edition, will take place from the 4th till the 11 of September 2022 in Feijenoord, Rotterdam.
POW! WOW! Hawaii
POW! WOW! Hawaii takes place every year during Valentine’s Day week in February in the Kaka’ako district of Honolulu, and brings over a hundred international and local artists together to create murals and other forms of art. The 2017 edition was visited by a small team representing Rewriters010, a street art platform, curator and production house from Rotterdam founded by Hiphop in je Smoel.
In Hawaii they met the team behind POW! WOW! Worldwide, who had been hoping to expand the festival to a European city. Since the Rewriters010 team had been dreaming of a street art festival in their own city, they decided to collaborate and make these dreams a reality.
The first POW! WOW! Rotterdam
In 2018 the first ALL CAPS (POW! WOW! Rotterdam back then) took place in the M4H area, also know as Merwe-Vierhaven. The old docks of Rotterdam became host to the very fist European edition of the worldwide POW! WOW! festival, presenting a wide variety of mural art, pop-up exhibitions, sports events and musical performances.
POW! WOW! Rotterdam also premiered the 20 VANS, 30 CANS van and truck painting event. This part of the festival was actually conceived because the organization had more artists than they had wall space for. However, because it turned out to be so much fun, they decided to host t again after the festival moved to the Afrikaanderwijk neighborhood. It has become a fixture of POW! WOW! Rotterdam ever since.
The power of street art
ALL CAPS is all about bringing people together through arts and culture. The streets belong to the people living and working there, and all people deserve beautiful and thought-provoking things equally. Art on walls and in public space is there to be enjoyed by everyone, rather than being surrounded by walls, accessible only for a chosen few. This is why we believe so strongly in the power of street art.
Because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition does not feature some of our regular festivities. But public art will always be the heart of ALL CAPS, and we are glad you are here to keep it beating with us. Please enjoy the art responsibly with regards to your own safety and that of those around you. See you next year!