Last summer, Perspective 40 Under 40 2014 laureate Aidan Li, in collaboration with cultural event company Sheen Choice, joined hands with Mission Hills Shenzhen — the world's largest golf facility — to organise a series of cultural and musical events called MissionMission.
Kicking off the MissionMission event was Do the Write Thing Shenzhen, which saw graffiti teams from around the world, including 4get, Parents' Parents' Whyyy and Un escargot vide, turn the country club's playground into a huge canvas for their graffiti art. And, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of MTN Montana Colours, three other graffiti crews — ABS Crew, Dirty Panda and Gantz5 — were invited to transform two walls of a total length of 100m with their art
Graffiti, although celebrating a long and proud history, has been ruthlessly polarised by modern society into two camps: street art or public crime.
There is an irony in the juxtaposition of these two views: on one hand, the action of writing or drawings on a public wall or other surface is considered illicit, but on the other hand, works by certain street artists with international reputations often achieve record-breaking prices at auction.
Late last year, the South China Morning Post reported that a mosaic of colourful tiles called Alias HK_58 by French street artist Invader, which precipitously appeared in Happy Valley, Hong Kong, was trashed by the government — but the piece went on to be resurrected with an estimated price tag of more than HK$1 million at a contemporary art sale held by Sotheby's Hong Kong early this year.
Should the laws regarding street art be relaxed? This is the question being asked all over the world, and eliciting a range of responses. Taking a bold step to support and perhaps help to legitimise the art from is Mission Hills Shenzhen, located just 19 miles away from Hong Kong and considered the largest golf facilities in the world.
"Graffiti is art," stresses Ken Chu, chairman of Mission Hills. "But apparently not everybody thinks so. It is mass, and everything related to Mission Hills is mass-scaled, too. Since we have a lot of massive architecture [here], I thought it would fit in very well."This is a preview of the "Street art on a Mission” article from the combined January/February Design issue of Perspective magazine.