For the past 16 years Nuart has developed itself and the town of Stavanger into something of a street art nerve-centre.
The annual festival brings with it artists from across the street art spectrum to descend on Norway’s third largest city and unleash a weekend of creativity thats legacy lasts far beyond.
Martyn Reed, the driving force and Creative Director behind the Nuart phenomenon announced his plan last year to bring the festival to its twin city, Aberdeen, and this week made the much anticipated first announcements.
Nuart Aberdeen – what’s on
The event is to be held over the Easter Weekend, Friday 14 April to Sunday 16 April, in partnership with Aberdeen Inspired (who also deserve praise for their work in pulling this off) and will include 11 top international street artists.
Given the pulling power of Nuart, the expectation is that the final line up will be something pretty special, and will almost certainly represent the first opportunity to paint in Scotland for a number of those on the bill.
The festival will also call on a team of intellectuals, curators, journalists and bloggers (ain’t that right…) to help generate a buzz beyond the murals by participating in the various talks, presentations, film screenings, walking tours and workshops over three days.
The themed year in Scotland for 2017 is History, Heritage and Archaeology, which may well add some interesting spice to the final murals.
The line up
The first names have dropped and the excitement is building nicely…
Among them were German duo Herakut, French artist Julien de Casabianca and fellow Scot, Robert Montgomery whose “light poems” have been seen in Edinburgh’s Modern Art Gallery garden in the recent past.
Edit: the full line up has now been released by Nuart Aberdeen, and it’s exceeded all expectations. Have a look through this gallery and watch the announcement video for the full story.
A real spread in styles there, so it will be really exciting to see what each gets up to, how they interpret the city and incorporate it into their art.
Speaking with Arrested Motion, the duo behind Herakut explained their reasoning for saying yes to the inaugural Nuart Aberdeen:
“It’s been ten years since we first worked with Martyn Reed and the wonderful Nuart crew, and we returned to Stavanger a second time for Nuart 2011, which was another great experience. When we learned that the festival was moving abroad to Aberdeen, we knew we had to be involved for two reasons: the special way that Nuart is run and then of course, Aberdeen!”
“We have never been ourselves but from what we’ve heard it sounds like we’ll love it. We better make sure to leave something nice on the awesome wall the Aberdeen team has found for us.”
“Lots of pressure on us now!”
Bringing Aberdeen to the fore
From my point of view it’s really encouraging to see a festival of this size and stature within the international artistic community looking beyond the “usual suspects”, to cities like Aberdeen whose appeal in terms of street art may not have the pulling power or obvious association that places like London or Bristol do.
This doesn’t just represent a great new opportunity for the Nuart team to expand their positive influence beyond Norway, but also for Aberdeen to stake a huge cultural claim within Scotland, and the UK.
While there’s little doubt that the city, like many others around the country, is a hotbed for underground creative talent – uncovered on a regular basis from blogs such as Mood of Collapse – the appearance of an institution like Nuart will begin to force others to reassess what lies beyond the Firth of Forth.
As we’ve seen with Herakut’s comments, the trust they have placed in Nuart to make the event a genuine success says a lot about the work of Martyn Reed and his Nuart team over the years.
And of course, Aberdeen is no stranger to organised public art (albeit on a smaller scale) with it’s Painted Doors project last year no doubt paving the way for much bigger events in future…
I’ll be up in Aberdeen for Nuart, so subscribe to the blog and follow the usual social channels to get all the updates during the lead up as well as over the weekend itself.
Can’t wait to see how Nuart Aberdeen unfolds!