Ten Top…Street Art Memorials around the world
Updated: Feb 5
Whilst it might not be quite as permanent as the more traditional headstone, a street art memorial provides a great place for people to gather and remember those who’ve passed.
Around the world, legends of film, music, politics, art and more have been immortalised (at least for a moment in time!) on walls, shutters and doors.
Here are some that caught our eye…
10. David Bowie (Brixton, London) by Jimmy C
Australian artist Jimmy C originally created the work on the wall of Morley’s shopping centre in 2013. More familiar working on walls in East London, he chose the location having researched Brixton born Bowie’s earlier life. After his death in 2016, the mural became a shrine to fans who flocked there to lay flowers.
9. Kurt Cobain (West Palm Beach, Florida) by Bulk Styles
In 2016, Art Revolution and Anthony Hernandez curated five local artists to immortalize five music and fashion icons in downtown Florida. Alongside Anthony’s own depiction of Bob Marley, sat Mayling Pao’s tribute to Prince, Paul Hughes’ memorial of David Bowie, Eduardo Mendieta’s laudation of the Beastie Boys late Adam Yauch and this portrait of Kurt Cobain by Bulk Styles.
8. George Michael (Shoreditch, London) by Pegasus
Having previously gained notoriety for his ‘Harry’s Girl’ piece of Meghan Markle, this tribute to George Michael was done by artist Pegasus over 4 hours in the freezing cold. Wanting to pay tribute to the singer as a thank you for the inspiration he had provided over the years, the US born artist who painted the work on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch.
7. Robin Williams (Dublin, Ireland) by Pan Cooke
In August 2014, Irish street artist, Pan Cooke, began the first in a 6 part series of portraits of a bearded Robin Williams in Dublin. One week later the actor was dead. The artist continued his project putting up paper based slap up versions across the city in tribute to the much loved comedian.
6. Nelson Mandela (Johannesburg, South Africa) by Freddy Sam
Commissioned by the Maboneng precinct as a gift to the city, South African artist Freddy Sam painted this 10-story high portrait of the nation’s revolutionary figure in 2014.
5. Leonard Nimoy (Brick Lane) by Paul Don Smith
One of London’s most prolific street artists, Paul Don Smith specialises in portraits of those in the public eye. In 2015, he adorned a wall on Buxton Street off Brick Lane with a series of images of deceased celebrities including this one of Leonard Nimoy, more commonly known as Spock from Star Trek.
4. Biggie Smalls (Bedstuy, Brooklyn) by Rocko and Zimer
Paying tribute to the legendary rapper in his old stomping group of Beford-Stuyvesant, is this 38-foot-high mural by Naoufal Alaoui (known as Rocko) with help from collaborator Scott “Zimer” Zimmerman. Gold and Red calligraphy under the ‘King of NY’ motif showcase lyrics from Biggie’s music.
3. Frida Khalo (Palermo, Buenos Aires) by Campos Jesses
Completed in June 2015, this 9 metre high depiction of Mexican artist Frida Khalo was the combined work of 3 artists; Julian Campos Segovi, Jean Paul Jesses and Juan Carlos Campos (collectively referred to as Campos Jesses). The overall piece (her head is made from a separate wooden panel attached the wall) took 3 weeks to complete.
2. Michael Jackson (Gary, Indiana) Gerry Guevara
In his early childhood, before moving to California to work as the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. To commemorate the 2nd anniversary of his death, local artist Gerry Guevara, spray painted Michael’s portrait onto the side of a tyre repair shop in the town.
1. Amy Winehouse (Camden, London) by numerous
Singer/Songwriter and Camden local Amy Winehouse, inspired a huge amount of street art in the neighbourhood she called home during her short life. So much so, that in 2017, The Jewish Museum (in partnership with artist Pegasus) launched the ‘Amy Street Art Trail’. Providing a new way to explore the area, the trail featured Amy-themed street art throughout Camden by artists such as Captain Kris, Mr Cenz, Philth and Amara Por Dios and led to a newly commissioned installation ‘Love Is A Losing’ by Pegasus himself.