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Photograph: Tomorrow Land, Studio Proba / Kris Tamburello

12 spectacular public artworks that brightened up our cities in 2021

Lockdown truly was the worst of times. But one thing that made our years better? All the amazing art that popped up in these unexpected locations

Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Sophie Dickinson
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My God, we all needed a bit of cheering up at the start of 2021. Much of the world was in the midst of its worst coronavirus wave, and life was as dull and grey and dreary as (hopefully) it’ll ever get.

But then along came the public art. Amazing, amazing public art. Throughout the year, and especially at the beginning, artists across the globe got busy adding a splash of colour to our streets. Sculpture, graffiti, neon installations: this stuff made our lives that little bit brighter when everything had gone to shit. We were really, really grateful for it.

As part of this year’s Time Out Love Local Awards, we asked you to name the best public artwork that popped up in your city in 2021. Some were pieces that responded to the pandemic or a particular political moment. Others felt completely disconnected from the outside world, providing some dazzling escapism that we all very much needed. Here are all the award-winners, along with a handful of other standout works that cropped up across the globe this year.

Most spectacular public artworks of 2021

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