World renowned street artist ROA is known for painting animals and birds native to the area where he's working, but this year he deviated from his normal repertoire to bring attention to maltreated animals. Instead of using bricks and buildings as canvas, the Belgian artist opted to paint caged animals on repurposed shipping containers that make the perfect jail cell for the job. The work was completed for North West Walls, part of the Rock Werchter festival held in Belgium every year, and starred alongside work of several other talented artists.
Some of the animals imprisoned on the side of containers include an antelope, elephant, giraffe, bear, and rhino. In line with his usual monochromatic style, ROA opted to use a minimalist color palette, which highlight the plight of the animals instead of just the artistic talent. One mural stretches across two containers, showing a rhino chained uncomfortably in place, while another shows a mother elephant on its back, with a calf chained above her. There is even a skeleton on one of the containers, which shows that animals can, and often do die thanks to poor treatment in captivity.
The Rock Werchter festival might offer great music and a great experience, but now it has the platform to stunning art infused with a powerful message. Curated by Arne Quinze, not every piece will have an environmental message, but it shows how the message can be incorporated into every aspect of our lives.
Images by Rock Werchter, ROA