Sint-Pieters-Leeuw unpacks with two inspiring murals focused on the future of young people.

Sint-Pieters-Leeuw partnered with artist collective Treepack to create two monumental murals. They in turn activated artists Simon Mannaerts and Toon Van Ishoven to create a work of art at Ruisbroek and Negenmanneke. Over the past few weeks, Sint-Pieters-Leeuw has been brightened up with art in the public space. The focus here is on the future of young people and the role they play in the growing society of the Brussels periphery.

Packed for the future

After the municipality of Sint-Pieters-Leeuw proposed the idea to Treepack in 2021 to brighten up the exterior wall of the Sint-Stevensschool Negenmanneke with street art, a unique design called "Packed for the Future" was developed. Sustainability, mobility and future is what it is all about. After enthusiastic approval from the mayor and the local school board, artist Toon Van Ishoven set to work on this challenging project.

The striking blue backpack symbolizes school as a place where "baggage" can be gained and where knowledge plus experiences are gained that arm children for the future. The paper airplanes flying out of the bag, with playful children's drawings on them, seem to blend completely into the environment. Hanging from the backpack is a key chain that refers to the "Nine Mannekes" coin that is well known in the community. In this way, an interesting overlap of the past and the present forms. The future, growth and nature are evoked in the form of a large sunflower growing out of the backpack. Through the use of the hook from which the school bag hangs and the effect with drop shadows from below, the whole comes across as spatial and hyper-realistic.  

Toon Van Ishoven is a multimedia artist who has found his passion with creating stylish murals. Especially in the outdoors, he takes on the challenge of creating fantastic works to rise as one of Belgium's more successful muralists. "I love to go painting every time" said Toon van Ishoven.

School principal Kathy Vanlinthout is also raving about the new painting on her facade. "As a school, we are grateful that our wall was selected by the municipality as one of the Street-Art locations. We think the design is very successful and are full of praise for the execution by Treepack and Toon Van Ishoven. The big, yellow sunflower radiates warmth and that is exactly what we want to be as a school: a warm school where children can feel at home and where they get the necessary baggage for the future! This mural also marks the start of the school year and a number of innovations at the school."

Children of the future.

In addition to the impressive sculpture at St. Stevens School, a second facade was embellished with a beautiful mural. The young artist Simon Mannaerts took on the challenge of creating an activating and connecting design that encourages children and young people to face the many challenges of the future.

This artwork by Simon Mannaerts focuses on the future, sustainability and mobility. Besides the clear visualization through the bicycle as a means of transportation, the sustainable character is translated through our youth.

Youth is the personification of the future and the challenges facing future generations. But childlike imagination can add value in this regard. Youth are full of inventive ideas and motivation to make their environment a pleasant, safe and supportive place. This imagination and innovation is illustrated by using abstract round color areas (the sun, bicycle wheel, child's imagination/brain) that radiate positivity.

The bicycle has a central presence. This is to clearly reflect the efforts taken by the local government in Ruisbroek to make the central axis Fabriekstraat/Karel Gilsonstraat more traffic-safe, and by extension all of Ruisbroek. Because of the proximity of the Jan Ruusbroec school (and Wegwijzer), it was chosen to depict a child.

Jan Desmeth, mayor responsible for culture, took the initiative to work out a street art project together with Treepack. "With the first phase of this street art project, we want to achieve three objectives, brighten up the streetscape, offer culture and convey a message. The first two locations were chosen in the center of Ruisbroek and Negenmanneke district. I am quite satisfied with the very successful final results. It will certainly encourage us to think about the next step soon." Says Mayor Jan Desmeth.


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