A public-space mural by the internationally influential American street artist and activist Shepard Fairey now adorns the STRAAT Museum in Amsterdam. In the gigantic work (14 x 14.8 m | 46 feet high and 48.5 feet wide) Raise the Level on the museum's impressive side wall, the artist calls attention to improving the dire state of our planet and makes an appeal for us to work together to do so.
With this gift to Amsterdam, Fairey sends a message of hope: the great challenges facing the world call for harmony and connection. For this mural, the street artist - world famous for his Barack Obama HOPE campaign poster - collaborated with Amsterdam graffiti legend Niels 'Shoe' Meulman. In addition to the mural, Fairey has created a work for the permanent STRAAT collection. From 13 August to 1 October 2023, the major solo exhibition Printed Matters: Raise the Level, featuring more than 130 artworks, will also be on display at the STRAAT Gallery.
Shepard Fairey about the new mural: ‘Raise the Level is my new mural in Amsterdam, inspired by a peace and harmony-themed fine art piece I created for my show at the STRAAT Museum. I added elements to the mural to reinforce the themes related to the need for harmony between humans and the planet. I also incorporated a collaborative section with my friend Niels "Shoe" Meulman, an Amsterdam native and artist behind the Calligraffiti movement. This mural showcases my usual bold graphic style but adds painterly expressive flourishes, complementing Shoe's calligraphy. The aesthetic also references the organic layering of paint and posters on the streets, which is both beautiful and ephemeral.’
The involvement of Amsterdam artist Niels ‘Shoe’ Meulman (b. 1967) adds an extra touch to the mural project. Shoe's association with Amsterdam is deeply rooted in his work, essentially embodying the creative spirit of the city. With this collaboration, the STRAAT Museum brings together two extraordinary artistic legacies and demonstrates its deep commitment to supporting and celebrating this global art form.
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