Back from KATPosted on Aug 14, 2012 by Julius |
Samira came all the way from London to visit us at the KAT festival. We asked her to share her experience…
A few months ago, in London I clicked on Laid Back Radio’s Facebook page, and some info about a Festival called KOSMOPOLITE ART TOUR in Belgium popped up… Well, a FREE International Festival that combines Music AND Street Art? I’m in! At that stage, I was just a girl going to a Festival.
01-08-2012, sunny afternoon in Louvain-La-Neuve.
I walked into KOSMOLOCO Exhibition first, and spotted Oli-B‘s work, which I knew via LDBK. I also recognized the radio’s logo re-designed by the FARM PROD (co-organiser of KOSMO), what a bad ass logo!
I walked out to start the tour but the map was pretty rubbish, so I decided to ask. A very busy man running around like a headless chicken kindly offered to walk me to the sound system. That’s Fred; he works at “Chez Zelle” (the youth center handling the administrative part of the Kosmo) and is also an artist. We headed to the Parking Sablon. He was surprised I came from London. I didn’t see why.
The Parking Sablon was a slap in the face. Gigantic breathtaking paintings – colourful, diverse in styles. Johan Baggio and Steve Locatelli were perfecting their shared masterpiece. I sat there quietly, listening to Lovesupreme’s selection of hiphop and enjoying the live painting.
Later, I recognized Julien, founder of LDBK, who offered to be my guide. I was amazed by all the space they had, 8 spots in the centre of the town. The festival is not what I expected; it seems more local but now that I’m here…
Two days later, on the train to LLN, I was thinking about Julien’s words on the first day. KOSMO builds bridges between artists and the public. I came to see them painting live, and it would be insane not to question them about their work. I worried a bit about sounding stupid but I decided to try. My KOSMO ride really began here.
I started talking to Ottograph, from Amsterdam. We talked about all sorts of things. At some point, I told him it was my birthday soon so he gave me the honour to add my year of birth to his wall. He got the number wrong. So next week, I’m turning 24 instead of 29.
I also got to know Juice who was ALWAYS either painting or setting/clearing the sound system that he had brought from Amsterdam. He’s a “paintaholic” and a music addict. Knowing that, you should spot his paintings easily.
Further down, I spoke to Etienne aka EK who took distorted pictures of himself to paint them. Near him, Nelson had started drawing on a column with a thick black filter pen; Nelson is a member of the Farm Prod. Both are long time friends and partners in crime. Nelson offered me to join them all for dinner. But before, I met a soulful Georgian artist called Tamoonz. If you had been there, you would have talked zombies with her. It was pouring with rain but we made our way to Bar du Zoo which I assumed was a fancy name for a canteen. It’s actually a community-run garden / cafeteria. A Couscous that (almost) competed with my mum’s was kindly served by the crew. Tamoonz shared some Georgian sweets with me, I hear some English spoken on one side, Spanish mumbled on the other. KOSMO is as international as London.
Later, some headed back home and carried on until the sun went up. A girl kindly offered to drive me back to Brussels where my night would continue too. I realised that I was a lucky b**ch in Belgium.
04-08-2012 Last Day
The kids were on duty, drinking beer for the warriors, water or coke for the losers. I know a lot of them now. Pest welcomed me and showed me that Jazzi had painted some Fried Chicken on the wall they had been sharing. It’s time for more fun. DJ Black & Lekker had been trying to leave for the last two days but kept “procrastinating”, as Etienne would say. Juice worked out a small sound system to give them company. So Etienne pulled out his funny breaking moves whereas Juice went for the sexy dance… Sticking his bum out and shaking it while painting a massive speaker at the same time. This is how we do it at KOSMO.
Later, I met KETO who could teach me a thing or two with his humility. KETO seeks his inspiration in Africa. He showed me small pieces of his work such as African material on which he drew faces – watch out for those as you might see them in the streets of London soon. Well, KETO has a few tricks up his sleeve. I fell in love with his mind and art. I bought a painting made on slate from him. Later someone would step on it and break it. I’m still not over it.
In the evening, we gathered at Place des Wallons, where they had been also painting a couple of vans. That was not on the brochure! The Closing Party kicked off and everyone was welcome so I scanned the square and it looked like KOSMO had also brought the public together. A small group of City-like people were having a drink, some kids were running around, teenagers were standing on the stairs checking out the scene; the crew were serving food, KOSMO people were hugging and taking thousands of pictures. Later, Fred offered local kids to jump on the van and rap right after MC Cassidy. The smiles on their faces were priceless. Then, a long hour of jungle music killed me. Not my style. But after that my friends, I found the best Belgian dance partner ever, his name was Francois. And together, we shook what our mamas gave us…
The next day, on my way back to the station, I bumped into an artist called Phil, who I had met 2 days before. He was wiping sleep from his eyes and moaning about the festival. I didn’t really want to talk but told him I was sorry he didn’t have a good time. He looked at me, almost shocked, and said: “Are you joking? It was a blast! But it wouldn’t be fun if I didn’t moan!” We laughed and wished each other luck. I jumped on the train and guess what; the national Belgian TV was filming the train as it was departing. What a nice way to end my KOSMO trip.
Thank you all for your hospitality, I came alone but was never lonely. I didn’t mention everyone above, so I want to thank all the artists for talking to me about themselves and their art, I’m less ignorant now.
The rest of you, who were absent… Well, where the hell have you been??
Julius’ note: Special thanks to Fred, Guitar, the whole Farm Prod team and all the people / institutions / sponsors who made this project possible.