The 19th Edition of Pioneering Street Art Festival NuArt Challenges Participants to Consider the Old and the New
For the 19th consecutive year, the quaint Norwegian town of Stavanger hosted another edition of the internationally known NuArt Festival. What started in 2001 as side programming at an electronic music festival has evolved into one of the most influential street art festivals worldwide. In addition to the production of public artworks, Nuart also includes a series of academic talks, debates, and movie premieres/screenings, all working towards greater definition and recognition of the street art movement. Its concurrent indoor exhibition also provides the artists an opportunity to create indoor works and installations without limitations or censoring, providing a unique blend of street art attitude showcased inside a gallery-like setting.
One of the works painted last week in Stavanger was the image of a girl taking a photo of a painting in a thick ornate frame. What seemed like an eye candy composition that creates a simple interaction of the character with an object on the wall is actually a harsh critique of the way the general public and the art world are dealing with the global refugee crisis. “On one side there is the passive position of the observer, on the other side, there is the position of the artist. Both acts as beholders of the critical situation,” the artist Jofre Oliveras (previously) stated about his poignant piece, titled Beholders. The artist further extended his critique of the art world with an indoor installation and live performance work presented in collaboration with the members of the 1UP CREW. As a way of protesting against the speculation of the art dealers based on the artist’s name, Oliveras painted a series of large works on canvas, which were then crossed over and destroyed by the notorious international graffiti crew.
Not far from this mural Argentine muralist Hyuro (previously) created her vision of the crisis and the way it is affecting the lives of individuals. Using hands as the universal symbol of individuality and closeness, Valencia-based artist depicted two hands interacting with a straight line between them. Symbolizing arbitrary manmade borders, the hands are both crossing over or being crossed over by the strict mark. Also talking about important social issues, Paul Harfleet introduced the concept of the ongoing Pansy Project, planting a single pansy flower on the location of homophobic abuse. Not being able to find the actual plants due to their seasonal nature, for the first time Harfleet painted these fragile flowers on multiple locations through the city and inside exhibition spaces.
Working around the festival’s theme “Brand new, you’re retro,” Julio Anaya Cabanding (previously) painted a series of smaller interventions which free a classic artwork by Norway’s Lars Hertervig in unexpected places. On the side of a staircase, at the end of a dark hallway, and finally, as part of the exhibition, his work is successfully merging the worlds of art history museums with street art.
This sensitive merging of two similar movements is an ongoing subject of the work by the Portuguese artist Nuno Viegas who painted a large mural showing a head masked with a shirt. Portraying the classic image of vandal graffiti writers with their makeshift disguise costume, the artist wanted to pay tribute to his graffiti past. “I see graffiti as the retro and street art the brand new,” the artist explained to Colossal. “But it is important that people realize the difference between both and don’t get them mixed up. Let’s respect graffiti and not try to appropriate it, let’s be proud of the “new” movement we are part of. We are writing history and it is important that we write it right and make sure we respect and do not distort what has been done before we got it to the game.”
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The second annual Nuart Aberdeen kicks off next month, celebrating the work of international street artists with workshops, guided tours, and film screenings throughout the course of the four-day festival. The public art platform aims to activate its local art scene while also encouraging visiting artists to collaborate with its twin city of Stavanger, which has hosted the original Nuart Festival for the last 17 years.
In 2017 the Scotland-based festival presented site-specific murals and interventions by Fintan Magee, Martin Whatson, Add Fuel, Jaune, and more. This year’s installations and temporary exhibitions will center around the theme “A Revolution of the Ordinary,” and include work by international artists Bordalo II, Bortusk Leer, Carrie Reichardt, Dr. D, Elki, Ernest Zacharevic, Glöbel Bros., Hyuro, Milu Correch, Nimi & RH74, Phlegm, and Snik.
The opening of Inky Protest, a collaborative exhibition between Nuart and Peacock Visual Arts, kicks off the festival on Thursday, April 12. The exhibition will feature work by artists such as Brad Downey, Mike Giant and Ralph Steadman, Futura, Martha Cooper and Jamie Reid. You can view a preview of the upcoming festival in the video below. (StreetArtNews)
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Local and International Artists Produce 21 Light Installations For the Inaugural Toronto Light Festival
Set within a district of Victorian industrial buildings, the Toronto Light Festival is a free 45-day festival occurring during this year’s winter months as a way to creatively draw the city’s inhabitants out of their homes. Featuring 21 diverse light installations built by local and international artists and thousands of glowing bulbs, the festival covers a total of 13 acres in the city’s Distillery District. Installations range from a series of lit figures appearing to jump from the roof of one of the historic buildings to two red, geometric cats prowling an included alleyway, with several multi-colored works in-between.
You can catch Toronto’s first ever light art festival until March 12, or follow the festival on Instagram to catch snapshots of the glowing installations.
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