For this year´s Nuart Festival, Mexican artist Said Dokins creates a mural inspired by the experiences of foreigners who have settled in Stavanger, either through choice or necessity.
Said Dokins conducted interviews with individuals from Johannes Læringsenter – a resource centre for newly arrived immigrants to Stavanger – as well as speaking to Norwegians about their attitudes towards foreigners. Through conversations with people from such diverse backgrounds Dokins explored notions of freedom and belonging. “The idea was to collect the words of individual people and coalesce them into something that represents a shared experience”, explains Dokins.
The resulting text – ´næarhet´ or ´proximity´ in English – references how our individual reality is shaped by our environment and how this can be disrupted through displacement and migration. The word ´nærhet´ is spelled using the names and words of the individuals Dokins interviewed during his time in Stavanger and is painted in the artist´s trademark calligraphic style – which combines Japanese calligraphy with pre-phonetic Mexican notation. The background – half red, half blue, meeting in the middle – is a metaphor for the compromise required in order for us all to live in an equal and compassionate society.
The mural can be found on Nedre Banegate 45 in Badedammen, an area in the east of the city where working class and immigrant populations have always traditionally settled.
Photos by Brian Tallman.