Street Artists Turn an Abandoned Junk Park Into an Art Park


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Posted June 14, 2016 by Jakov Novak in People and the City

If you were a beat cop on patrol in the city center and were running low on daily quotas, there was always one place you could go and be pretty sure you’ll make an arrest- Narkić Parkić (narkić = junkie, parkić = small park). The name is ironically exaggerated, as the park was mostly a meeting spot for misguided local high school kids trying out weed for the first or second time. Real potheads, or heavy drug users for that matter, stayed clear of the park due to routine police inspections. This often led to many teenagers’ first experience with the law, and repercussions of breaking it.

To those kids, the park seemed like an ideal place to hide. It connects Ilica street and Stross promenade and could be entered trough Tomićeva street (where Zagreb funicular is), and a huge chunk of it is on a slope. That meant that threes covered the view from top, high bushes covered the view from below and you could always have a good view on the Tomićeva entrance. It also meant that their view of other entrances was obscured until it was too late. With a huge amounts of drug busts there (it depended on the current government, but Croatia has, at periods, had the strictest laws in Europe regarding marijuana usage, marking any weed smoker as a junky in the official register) it got a reputation as a junky meeting point, thus the name Narkić Parkić.

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The kids eventually wised up in the mid 2000s, and the police had generally eased up on weed smoking teens, so the park was completely forgotten by their only users. The general public had forgotten it a long time before that, and a lot of blame for that lies on the municipal government which left the park unattended in the early 90ies, and had never looked back on it. Basically, the park was a patch of wild growth no one has cut down for 26 years, and no one seemed to care.

That is, until a month or so ago. Street artist Bare and Modul from Lapo Lapo and Pimp my Pump had gathered other artists and local businesses, and went to the City to ask for help in reviving the park. Surprisingly, it went well. Zrinjevac (city landscaping public service) had sent their men to cut down and dispense bushes and weeds from it, and the artists were left to clean up the rest and make their vision a reality.

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Lonac, Lunar, Artez, Linnch, Bare, Modul, Džedaj and their friends got to work and pimped up the park with new elements, freshly painted benches and a lot of street art on easels and walls surrounding the park. They’ve called in a bunch of local content creators, event organizers, galleries, artists, shops and others to set up a plan for events in it during the summer, thus creating a foundation for a unique art park. It is going to have its own specific events and will participate in city wide projects (Just Zagreb will have its own little thing there so keep an eye out 🙂 ).

The official opening party was this Saturday, June 11th, and a few upcoming events were announced, like participation on World Music Day, Little Market, and an exhibition of photographer Hrvoje Zalukar with street poetry projections and live readings this Friday, June 17th.

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