Street art has always been celebrated in Zagreb. Graffiti artists flock here to make their mark on the walls, and Boris Bućan and co were painting in the city streets in the Sixties. So what next for a city where art outside of the gallery is no longer art outside of the box?
It turns out there are plenty of surprises left in the Croatian capital, and water pumps are the latest thing to get the Banksy treatment. A street art collective has decided that in this most vibrant of European cities, leaving the rusty old pumps that lurk on every corner untouched just won’t do. The six artists – all locals – have taken their paint brushes to the fixtures, which you’ll see all over: courtyards, industrial estates, high streets, marketplaces. They’re often witty pop culture references (there’s a brilliant, blue-haired Marge Simpson and a diminutive Darth-Vader) or inspired by other artists – such as a suitably surreal Dali pump.
Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain are also reincarnated in pump-form, and there’s a Bruce Lee looking ready to pounce. Some of the pumps are still functioning, while others, now defunct, serve as reminders of the city’s communal past – residents would gather at these watering holes, so they’ve got a special place in the city’s collective heart.
Here are a couple of our favourite pimped pumps:
We like this Batman pump because of the excellent accessorising (that simple but effective cape) and because at this height, batman looks even more like a bat.
We're impressed by this especially arty specimen, which has climbed the ladder from lowly street pump to sophisticated gallery pump.
This wintry one demonstrates that street art isn’t just for summer. Who needs a snowman when you have a pump that looks like a snowman?
These little replica pumps provide the most opportunity for pump-related fun. If you don’t live in Zagreb, you can take these home, line them up against your garden fence and take pictures that make it look like you do. And even if you do, you can line them up against the fence and then pretend that Zagreb has been invaded by giant cats when your pet walks past the tiny things.