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Street artist ROA takes over brand-new GUM

World-renowned street artist ROA expresses his love for anatomy on the façade of the brand-new Ghent University Museum.

Right this moment, universally acclaimed street artist ROA is creating a masterpiece on the façade of the GUM (Ghent University Museum). This brand-new science museum, which was supposed to open its doors at the end of March but was forced to postpone its grand opening to the fall, acts as a canvas for a magnificent pile of skeletons, including those of an elephant and a rhinoceros. In this piece of art, ROA once again demonstrates his love for animal anatomy, which is a reoccurring theme in his work. For this particular piece, he drew inspiration from the GUM’s exceptional collections and stories.


Marjan Doom, GUM director:

“I was first introduced to ROA many years ago, while I was still a junior Anatomy assistant at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University. I absolutely adored his work. We share a lifetime passion for and fascination with animal anatomy, and neither of us shied away from dissections, both literally and figuratively. From our first introduction, a dialogue was born about the beauty of mortality, the complexity of evolution and how an artist’s eye can compel an audience to experience this.

The GUM is located in the heart of the city of Ghent, ROA’s birthplace, and the natural history collections are partly hidden in the depositories underneath the museum. Therefore, ROA could find his source of inspiration literally just a few metres from his artwork. It goes without saying that we are incredibly honoured that he is creating this piece for us and look forward to sharing it shortly with as many people as possible.”

ROA is known for his impressive black-and-white wall paintings featuring animals, with or without skin, fur or hair. His work can be found all over the world and he is counted among the very best of contemporary street artists.

The Botanical Garden will not re-open until 6 July (please register here). Ghent University students who are taking their first exams at Campus Ledeganck this Monday will be the very first to be able to marvel at the piece. For they will walk past the artwork when entering the examination room. In the weeks ahead, ROA will continue to work on the piece in stages.

This work of art is set to become a genuine crowd-puller for fans of street art from every part of the world as well as a showpiece for the brand-new GUM, which, by featuring ROA’s work, truly lives up to its title ‘Forum for Science, Doubt and Art’.

Photos: Michiel Devijver

Press photos: (Source citation – GUM – Ghent University Museum © Michiel Devijver)

All work was carried out on the right-hand side of the GUM’s façade at Campus Ledeganck, in the centre of the Botanical Garden. This project was a collaboration with Ghent-based non-profit organisation Wallin, which aims to create new opportunities for street artists. Wallin has already developed various projects both in and outside of Ghent, one of which being the GUM’s Graffiti Street project at the end of March.

The work is carried out using a hydraulic lift and is painted directly onto the wall.

With support of

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