Thank you Feijenoord, for your perfect vibes and hospitality

Posted by Bowie van Loon , 12 September 2023

It’s a wrap. Street art festival ALL CAPS took place for the third time in the Feijenoord neighborhood from September 3 to 10 and brought together both national and international artists for a week. They provided colorful murals, a group show in a gas dome, a photo exhibition, inspiring talks and numerous intervention artworks that could be found throughout the neighborhood. The festival traditionally ended with a complete and free festival day in Mallegat Park, including food trucks, bars, live painting, a kids program and music played by a variety of DJs.

ALL CAPS presented a new style this year, led by the new mascot named Cappie. The cheerful figure was everywhere; he guided visitors through the brand new festival booklet and also presented the online map where visitors could find all the murals. The new logo received a positive response. On the closing day of the festival, many young visitors had their picture taken with a sculpture of him, made silk-screen prints of him and his image appeared on numerous T-shirts they had made themselves.

The very sunny weather created an atmosphere that couldn’t have seemed warmer. Picnicking people sat all over the park, enjoying being with friends and family, while enjoying a DJ lineup curated by Franky Sticks. With that soundtrack in the background, four renowned artists, including XEME from Hong Kong, also set to work on a unique canvas. They transformed tuktuks into driving works of art that can undoubtedly still be encountered on the streets of Rotterdam.

For the third year in a row, artist Onno Poiesz curated the gas dome in Mallegat Park, which had been transformed into an exhibition space. He brought a secret partnership consisting of VOID, NIMROD and GRAUNESS to Rotterdam, who showed the grey area between graffiti and contemporary art with a group show. In all corners of the large dome, their dark world was sketched out with art, photography and installations in which visitors could climb to the top themselves.

Festival director Dave Vanderheijden emphasized the hospitality he has experienced in the neighborhood over the past three years. “We have felt the warmth in Feijenoord this past week, both literally and figuratively. All the artists showed diverse forms of high quality street art in a scorching hot late summer week. The hospitality of the Feijenoord residents has been amazing over the past three years and that was certainly reflected during Super Sunday.

And speaking of leaving art behind; this year’s mural lineup was top notch also. The colorful flora and fauna of Australia’s George Rose and Sophie Mess from England contrasted with the more old-school graffiti approach of the likes of Adrian Falkner, who has been spraying cans under his legendary alias SMASH137. Just down the road, Amsterdam all-rounder Tommy Hagen used miles of tape and various paint techniques for his abstract wall art on Koperslagerstraat, where several other new murals can be found in a row. That street alone gives a nice broad picture of what ALL CAPS is all about as a festival.

Equally special is the work of the Danish artist Anders Reventlov, who jettisoned his normally present musings. “I didn’t want to dwell too long on something that I already thought looked beautiful. As a result, my work in Rotterdam-Zuid became part of my own learning process.” The result is a sinuous, white interplay of lines next to the train tracks, in which visitors could see all sorts of things. Rotterdam artist Jimmy Granti honored several iconic residents of the port city by pasting a series of portraits into the streetscape. Among others, Raven van Dorst, Herman den Blijker, Jordy Dijkshoorn and the recently deceased creator of the world famous dish ‘Kapsalon’, Nataniël ‘Tati’ Gomes could count on a gold-black treatment and can now be admired in Feijenoord.

The organization also faced headwinds this year. Not everyone in the immediate vicinity of the former Unilever factory on the corner of Nassaustraat and Roentgenstraat was happy with the work the Brazilian artist Eneri made. There, soon into the week, a loaded text adorned the side of the building: “How big is the debt of developing countries with the 3rd world?” She applied it with her art style Pixacao, with which she abseiled from the building. In her hometown of Sao Paulo, this is strictly forbidden. It brought quite a stir, but Eneri went on and in a Q&A at headquarters she told visitors what underlies her method. She applied her Pixacao to two more sides of the building. “Art is meant to spark discussions, this is a work that certainly provides space for that,” the organization states.

By giving a stage to different and innovative practices, ALL CAPS emphasized sustainability and innovation this year. Curator and creative director Daniël Claessens: “This year we collaborated with artists who deal consciously with sustainability and apply new techniques. We also highlighted this in our knowledge program INSIGHT, hosting artists and agencies from the street art world throughout the week. We bring art and color to a neighborhood that often gets negative press. We like to highlight it positively. The whole week but especially the closing day, where local residents came together with the artists, felt like one big family.”

While in one shed the INSIGHT program took place, in an adjacent building there was room for the education program, in which no fewer than three hundred students participated this year. They were introduced to various art forms. Not only by looking at the brand new murals, but also by working with techniques themselves, under the guidance of a team of enthusiastic artists including Florian Baltus and Tommy Hagen, who was also in the lineup for the festival.

After realizing several murals in Feijenoord three years in a row, ALL CAPS is moving on in 2024. Dave Vanderheijden: “Our office will remain in Feijenoord and we will certainly continue to organize projects there, but the annual ALL CAPS festival will move to another Rotterdam neighborhood next year. Where we will settle down we will announce soon. Thanks Feijenoord!”

Have you visited ALL CAPS? Please fiLl in our public survey by clicking this link. If you fill it in you will have a chance to win a street art tour through Feijenoord for you and your friends, OR a SMASH137 x Montana exclusive spray can OR the ALL CAPS coloring book!

Several work-in-progress photos by the artists, as well as the complete street art route, can be found on the ALL CAPS website. Photos above by Martine Kiers & madewithlobii.