House of Paint hip-hop festival celebrates 10 years
Rose from celebration of first legal graffiti wall
An event that started with graffiti artists celebrating a city decision to keep a wall of their art has grown into a multi-day celebration of hip-hop in Ottawa.
House of Paint is celebrating its 10th anniversary under a Bronson Avenue bridge this year. It's a five-day festival of hip-hop and its four disciplines: rapping, DJing, breakdancing and graffiti.
Sabra Ripley was part of the push for Ottawa’s first legal graffiti wall under the George Dunbar Bridge in 2003.
"It was amazing, we had 150 people," she said.
"My dad built the stage, my mom and a bunch of my friends made sandwiches in the kitchen."
Celebration of grassroots hip-hop, not 'hip-pop'
Ripley said House of Paint wasn’t meant to last for years, but people who went said they liked the atmosphere and word spread.
"It is such a unique event," she said.
"And the main event under the bridge is in such a unique location that once they've been there once, they want to come back."
This year’s festival features performances by rap icons Afrika Bambaataa and Big Daddy Kane, but also film screenings, children’s events and talks on subjects such as women in hip-hop.
"This is an opportunity for people to see … grassroots [hip-hop] culture in action, as opposed to what they might see in the video culture," she said.
"When you may think of hip-hop more typically you may think more of straight-up rap videos and 50 Cent and that sort of thing, which are often referred to as being something closer to ‘hip-pop,’ but hip-hop culture is something that grew out of a movement that had various different elements to it.
"Rather than getting something that’s big and sparkly and created by the music video culture, you’re getting something that feels like you’re at a cultural event."
House of Paint, which is sponsored in part by CBC Ottawa, runs from Sept. 11 to 15.