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A hip hop DJ on the decks
Sticking it on...

This is not graffiti anymore

By Rahma Ali
The Brighton Hip Hop Festival is billed as the UK's biggest celebration of Hip Hop Culture...local musican Rahma Ali went to check out The Art of Hip Hop exhibition...

Hip Hop Exhibition

The Art of Hip Hop exhibition - 'Past, Present, Future'
Brighton University Gallery, Grand Parade
Monday 3rd July – Saturday 8th July.
10am-5pm – Free Entry

In the backdrop of striking visuals and a buzzing atmosphere you are taken on a historical journey which has seen the visual art of Hip Hop move from the streets to the exhibit area and straight into graphic design companies.

This art form is no longer just graffiti being painted onto the sides of trains; the blood, sweat and tears of this high risk method of self-expression is making its way into the UK art world, starting at Brighton University.

Kim Wan of Hastings believes that Hip Hop art belongs in exhibitions like this and commends the university for opening its doors. As he shows me a photograph of piece that he painted in 1984, he tells me he never thought he'd see the day, but has watched Hip Hop culture grow beyond what he thought possible….

But anything is possible. The exhibition took me to the source of Hip Hop art with a personal appearance from Blade – who now at 50 years old could not have predicted that he would be one of the pioneers of this art when he started painting trains at 15 years old.

A face - detail from a piece of hip hop art
What you lookin' at?

Now he travels around the world promoting it and is amazed to see it grow from New York City to inspire millions of artists abroad.

UK artists like Req, who have helped evolved gutsy graffiti lettering to remarkable images which contrast and compliment modern art. Or Nirmal Dhiman, for whom this art is an everyday mode of expression, illustrated in his daily visual diary.

And this is not purely a male-dominated art form, female artists such as Heath, a photographer of stencil graffiti, and Yvonne Golz and 10 Yetis both visual illustrators, exhibit their work with pride.


With a wide variety of visual method and personality on show, this exhibition is a must see for anyone who appreciates innovation in the art world.

last updated: 06/07/06
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