This week at Nuart Aberdeen artists, academics and street art lovers have been confronting the topic of how art should be part of people’s everyday life. This year’s theme – A Revolution of the Ordinary– has been addressed through a series of events,
talks, movie screenings, workshops and tours, not to mention through the actual realization of fifteen new murals by internationally renowned street artists for the city of Aberdeen.
After Phlegm, Elki, Milu Correch and Snik (Read Article Here) all the other artists wrapped up their murals, starting from Bordalo II who –in less than three days- realized yet one more large-scale animal sculpture made of trash and recycled materials.
In Aberdeen Bordalo II built a unicorn, which is not only the symbol of Scotland, but it also represents our dreams. In fact, as the Portuguese artist points out, if we carry on with our current lifestyle, not only endangered animals are at risk, but also our fantasies about future. (cover photo)
Another artist who has been very busy during the week is the ‘craftivist’ Carrie Reichardt, who installed three different mosaics around the city. Carrie has been looking at the past of Aberdeen, going through the city archives to learn about local women who are –to put it in her words- “the grand-daughters of all the witches you were never able to burn”. This first piece is actually made of two different mosaics, one is a tribute for the radical history of the suffragettes and one honours Aberdonian witches hunt in the past, who happened to be held in a nearby church. These two mosaics are visually inspired by the stained glass windows that Carrie has been admiring around Aberdeen.
A second piece was made during a workshop: it’s titled “Everyday Heroes” and features inspiring local people that those who attended the workshop chose to celebrate.
Lastly, Carrie Reichardt made a stunning mosaic dedicated to human rights defenders from Scotland, which was commissioned by Amnesty Scotland.
Yet another prolific artist was Bortusk Leer who, not content with pasting up more than 100 of his iconic monsters at the St. Nicholas rooftop gardens, also roamed around the city to paste up yet more cheerful monsters, thus accomplishing his mission of putting a smile on people’s faces.
More posters similarly intended at surprising passers-by were set up around the streets of Aberdeen by the London-based subvertiser Dr. D, who also put up street signs and more installations aiming at taking back those spaces that are usually monopolized by companies. Dr. D mimics the visual language of advertising to raise awareness about who has the power to communicate messages and to address people’s attention on political incompetence and abuse of power.
Yet one more piece mimicking the visual language of advertising was painted by Conzo & Glöbel. It’s an ironic piece about the ubiquitous seagulls of Aberdeen, realized according to the long tradition of sign painting. Since 2013, in fact, the Scottish duo is exploring a more contemporary approach to this old craft.
Seagulls are also featured in the large-scale mural painted by the Lithuanian Ernest Zacharevic at Union Plaza, a beautiful piece depicting one of his iconic playful kids.
Next to it, Nimi and RH74 painted the Green Lady of Crathes Castle, who is a ghost haunting an ancient castle in the Aberdeenshire. During some renovation works, the skeletons of a woman and a child were found buried behind the hearthstone, supposedly a servant who was impregnated by a member of the Buttert family. Nimi and RH74 honoured her by painting the untold story of this girl buried alive in order to avoid a scandal.
Last but not least, Hyuro painted two women embracing yet in conflict, two women who can’t pull apart from each other because their shirts are tied together. This fragment of action is how the Argentinian artist sees the relationship between Scotland and England.
“Is art ‘ordinary’ or ‘extra’ ordinary?” was the question raised by the Nuart team, which has been working -in Stavanger first and in Aberdeen after that- for a more accessible and inclusive way of engaging with art. The amazing response of Aberdonians to this year’s artworks is the answer they have been looking for.
Text and photos by our on the spot representative Giulia Blocal from www.blocal-travel.com