A project by the Embassy and Consulate General of the Netherlands in Italy and INWARD starts from Mantua with Erosie and 108. The HollAndMe – Dutch Street Art In Six Italian Cities project, by the Embassy and Consulate General of the Netherlands in Italy in partnership with INWARD – National Observatory on Urban Creativity and in collaboration with six UCAS – Urban Creativity Associations, has officially started. It is a real path, featuring stages that, from June to October, will bring the creativity of some of the most famous Dutch Urban Artists in six Italian cities, with a twofold purpose: on one hand, strengthening the creative partnership which has been uniting the two countries since the modern times and, on the other, reactivating the public enjoyment of art and creativity in places and contexts that have always been dedicated to the community. As a matter of fact, the HollAndMe initiative is a part of the wider (S)punti di Vista, a cultural program by the Embassy and Consulate General of the Netherlands in Italy that, for 2021, intends to bring new examples of Dutch creativity to the attention of the Italian public, creating a dialogue around social issues such as human rights, climate change and inclusion by submitting them to everyone’s attention through the disruptive power of Urban Art.
Such a choice is connected to the most current events, which, especially in the last year, have led the organizers of the project to pay more and more attention to art in public spaces: “Last year, with the closure of museums and other exhibition spaces, we asked ourselves how to make art accessible to a wide audience”, Roeland Slagter, Deputy Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Italy, said upon the project’s launch in Mantua. “The intent of the project is therefore to support art in public spaces, making this genre accessible to a wide audience and creating opportunities for dialogue around current issues. We are happy that the result is a very varied program, involving artists with very different backgrounds and from equally diverse Italian realities – small, medium and large cities scattered from North to South”.
Over a period of five months, and thanks to the fundamental work of the UCAs that have always worked on the territory to promote urban creativity in all its forms, HollAndMe will stop in the following cities: Mantua (with Erosie and 108 and the curatorship of the ACU Caravan SetUp), Santa Croce di Magliano (with Maaike Canne, called by the ACAG – Cultural Association Antonio Giordano UCA), Turin (where the Il Cerchio e le Gocce UCA decided to involve Chas, a graffiti writer), Lentini (with Nina Valkhoff for the Badia Lost&Found Cooperative Society) and Lecce (which, thanks to the 167B/Street UCA, will host the work of Collin Van Der Sluijs). The Neapolitan area will be the last stop for the project, which is going to close the circle with a surprise ending. The parterre of artists – established both on the Dutch and on the international scene – has been immediately discussed by INWARD with Dennis Elbers of Blind Walls Gallery, who then compared the stylistic style of the Urban Artists with the relevant host project. Finally, it was up to the individual UCAs to confirm the suitability of the individual artist proposed to their territory.
“The artistic program promoted by the Embassy and Consulate General of the Netherlands in Italy, which features us as general coordinators, brings us back to an important dimension, that of cultural exchange with other countries of the European Union”, Silvia Scardapane, coordinator of INWARD – National Observatory on Urban Creativity – says. “We are happy that the project can be placed among the first institutions and initiatives focusing on the resumption of Urban Art in Italy and we are also sure that the selected Dutch artists will leave an important sign of their presence, together with experienced associations, in six Italian cities, both large and small, starting from the first work that sees the extraordinary collaboration of two exceptional artists such as Erosie and 108 in the city of Mantua”.
Indeed, from June 21st to 25th, HollAndMe “opened the dances” by heading to Mantua – the home base for the first stage of the project. Here, the Dutch artist Erosie and the Italian 108 have created a combo wall on the occasion of the sixth edition of Without Frontiers, Lunetta a Colori – festival of Urban Art for the cultural enhancement of the Lunetta district in Mantua. Curated by art critic Simona Gavioli with the scientific contribution of Lavinia Bottini, the Festival this year, as always organized by the Caravan SetUp UCA with the support of the Municipality of Mantua, aims to deal with “and” (in Italian, “e”), not only as a letter (and as a series of letters in English) but also (especially) as a copulative conjunction.
The combo wall, created by Erosie and 108, two artists chosen thanks to the collaboration with the Il Cerchio E Le Gocce UCA, based in Turin, explains it well. A four-handed intervention entitled “Aperta” (Open) that has declined the curatorial project of this sixth edition of the festival by talking about union through the fusion of pictorial languages and forms of the artists called to confront the wall. The artists explain: “Aperta for three reasons: as a symbol of reopening after the various lockdowns, as a work that offers itself to an open interpretation since it is made up by abstract forms, and because there are open forms inside it, windows, compared to what has been done by both so far in a distinctive way “.
Both the Ducth and the Italian artist have thus worked on the evolution of letters, the object of study of their own personal artistic path, which originates in the sphere of Graffiti Writing and evolves to the extreme: in their intervention for Without Frontiers, Lunetta a Colori Erosie and 108 have thus decomposed, mutated and reunited their letters in abstract and symbolic forms, capable of merging and, with the strength of their reciprocal specificity, of exalting each style. And there is more. Thanks also to the strategic position of the building, visible from several points of the Lunetta district and facing the historical center, their work symbolically defines the union between the Lunetta area and the center of Mantua, creating a bridge and deconstructing the traditional function of dividing walls.