“Whether you view street art as a valid art form or not, there’s no denying the strength of the images on display.” City Life
Urbis was an exhibition centre that shed light on what few other UK institutions could: the little charted world of popular culture, from British hip hop to graphic design, via gaming, urban planning, contemporary art, TV and architecture. True to form was Ill Communication II at the time the UK’s largest exhibition of street art ever held.
Featuring new commissions alongside work by world renowned graffiti artists, Ill Communication II opened up debate around the legality of graffiti as an art form in its own right. Pollyanna commissioned ten street artists from locations as diverse as New York, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and Munich, asking them to create work directly in the gallery space and thus enable audiences to see for themselves some of the finest practitioners of the genre.
In the early 2000s, street art was beginning to break free of its bad reputation, with Banksy in particular changing forever the way street art was regarded. Once confined to alleyways and dark corners of the city, all of a sudden street art acquired legitimacy – and value. Although still reviled by local authorities up and down the country, Ill Communication II illustrated that street art was fast becoming one of the most powerful elements of urban culture and one of the most vibrant forms of art, and a dominant visual influence in design, advertising and fashion.