I remember, many years ago, when I first heard of Stavanger, the capital town of mural art. Since then, I followed the Nuart festival from afar, marvelling at the aesthetic of its walls and at the impressive number of talented artists it managed to attract to this –otherwise dull- small town in Norway.
Street art is now a landmark in Stavanger, a city where locals are more than happy to offer their walls to the project, even if -until the unveiling of the mural- they are unaware of what is going to be painted on them. And a town where, once a year, not only world best street artists but also academics, curators and industry professionals gather to debate the state of street art (and I’ve found these academic examinations so interesting that I’m writing a specific post on Nuart Plus, the symposium side of the festival).
Far to be pedantic, Nuart isn’t afraid to let artists get political and somehow encourages them to keep up with the activist side of their work. During the days of the festival, not-official-guests were given a not-official-wall as well, while several ‘spontaneous’ works popped-up in the streets of Stavanger, which –in my humble opinion- proves that Nuart is still “healthy” and rooted in the streets, as genuine street art should be.
This year’s artist line up was mixed and variegated as usual: from Addfuel‘s stenciled tiles decorating a massive grey wall to activist Kennardphillipps’ political message, passing through Robert Montgomery‘s street poetry, which appeared on a façade as well as on posters and through an ad takeover.
Two sides of an abandoned building in the harbour were covered with Henrik Uldalen‘s intimate work and SpY‘s playful message, which can be read reflected in the surrounding water.
The most impressive work is the nearby Fintan Magee‘s colossal diptych on two 50m silos, which is about the collapse in oil prices that affected the Norwegian economy (especially in Stavanger, which is Norway’s oil capital), while I liked Axel Void‘s for being not only site-specific but actually born from a discussion with the children at the kindergarten hosting the mural.
No matter how many kilometres I walked up and down the streets of Stavanger, I haven’t stumbled upon Nipper’s installations, which were interactive artworks questioning who has the authority to communicate messages in our shared spaces, but I did spot Evol‘s electric boxes turned into iper-detailed architectures and Jaune‘s humorous workers, together with several Minksy stencils by Jeff Gillette, whose exhibition “Dismayland Nord” opened on September 8th at Nuart Gallery.
Last to wrap up was MTO’s 5-block span work, which is still part of his “Google” series.
Except for Axel Void, Hyuro and MTO, all other artists also realised a piece for the “Post-Street Art” exhibition, which opened on September 10th at Tou Scene. Again, the most impressive installation was by Fintan Magee, who staged a living room where his nature-inspired design acts both as wallpaper and furniture lining, creating a mesmerizing effect of camouflage. Another playful installation is the one by SpY, where the artist invites the public to actually ‘spy’ through a concrete wall at the other side of which –unfortunately- there is “no image available”.
Henrik Uldalen’s work, the portrait of a man at the end of a trail of broken pieces of glass, is just stunning, perhaps my favourite piece in the whole exhibition.
The exhibition will be on until October 16th, while the murals are here to stay as part of Nuart’s street art legacy to the city of Stavanger, which –after 16 editions of the festival- now counts more than 100 large-scale murals.
See pics from during the making of Nuart Festival here.
Text and photos writen by our on the spot representative Giulia Blocal from www.blocal-travel.com
”I Support Street Art” is one of the official Media partners of this year’s Nuart Festival.