14 street artists from 6 countries have descended upon Estonia´s second city – Tartu – for the 10th anniversary of Stencibility Festival. Epitomising this year’s theme of ´anarcho-street art´, the festival HQ was a hive of activity with a stream of artists arriving throughout the day; piles of freshly printed zines and t-shirts sporting the Stencibility manifesto; and Stencibility´s team of dedicated volunteers working late into the night.
6 days of sanctioned and unsanctioned street art will see site-specific artworks, installations and interventions produced at various spots around the city along with a satellite program of artist talks, workshops and the launch of the 2nd issue of the Tartu Street Art zine.
Artists were welcomed at the HQ before being taken out on a bike-tour to see the various walls – none of which can be reserved beforehand. In the background, volunteers painstakingly transformed a dilapidated van into what will become a mobile homage to sticker art, with contributions by more than 200 international artists.
The day had started with a ceremony to mark the preservation of one of Tartu´s most famous graffiti pieces. The text ´BIIG TUUSU LAAV´ or ´BIG PUSSY LOVE´ is a well-known landmark among Tartuvians, so much so that the owner of this dilapidated building requested it be saved before giving the building to the organisers. An indication of just how much this peaceful city of 100,000 inhabitants has come to love this form of urban creativity.
Photos by Sandra Ruudu.
STENCIBILITY STREET ART FESTIVAL
10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
Festival dates: Tuesday 18 – Sunday 23 June, 2019
SEPE (PL) ★ BISSER (BE) ★ YOUR MOM’S KNIGHTS (RU) ★ SOMEART (PL) ★ KRÕÕT KUKKUR (EE) ★ SIGUEL (PL) ★ ZAHARS ZE (LV) ★ GLOW (BG) ★ LAZY BRA (LV) ★ MAARI SOEKOV (EE) ★ PINTSEL (EE) ★ KIWIE (LV) ★ VOUR (LV) ★ SÄNK (EE)
Estonia´s leading street art festival celebrates 10 years of “anarcho-street art”
Spanning the spectrum of street art from graffiti to graphic design, illustration to interventionism, this year’s line-up boasts established names such as Poland´s Michal ‘SEPE’ Wrega and Belgium´s Bisser alongside emerging talent such as Russian duo Your Mom´s Knights and a host of local up-and-comers.
Founded in 2009, Stencibility has carved out an international reputation for supporting independent street art in an era dominated by large-scale mural festivals.
This year’s festival gives birth to the term anarcho-street art, which takes its inspiration from the anarcho-punk movement that established itself in response to the corporatisation of an initially anti-establishment art form. Anarcho-punk embraced the syncretic fusion of various strains of ideological anarchism while advocates of the movement identified with various social justice issues from workers rights to the anti-war movement. Anarcho-street art, as proposed by Stencibility, offers a similar alternative for street artists by establishing a festival framework that allows for the type of unsanctioned creativity that imbued street art with its original potency.
Stencibility Festival Co-Founder Sirla:
“We believe that street art isn’t meant to be curated, filtered or censored. Our main aim is to preserve maximum creative freedom for our participating artists. Stencibility offers an alternative to mural-based street art festivals but all the benefits of the festival platform for non-muralists. When artists arrive to Tartu, they get a map of the festival walls, a bicycle and their cans of spray paint. No-one can reserve a wall and everyone can use all the walls during the festival period. The wall owners have given the festival permission to paint but they have no control over the content: that means no sketches prior to the artists arrival. Instead, all works can be born on the spot, inspired by the surrounding environment.”
A full program of events and program schedule is available at www.stencibility.eu
Stencibility Festival in Estonia also proudly presents Europe´s largest ever sticker exhibition, SLÄP!, in celebration of one of street art´s most enduring and underappreciated art forms.
Featuring over 11,000 stickers by more than 250 artists from 30 countries, SLÄP! showcases the DIY aesthetic and community-based spirit that gave street art its original potency.
Each miniature artwork is exhibited in a mobile gallery built from a van, complete with red carpet. Artists submitted their stickers via mail and will each receive a pack of swaps in return to add to their collection or put up in their hometown. After Thursday evening´s opening in Tartu, the SLÄP! truck will take the show on the road to 11 different cities in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany.
Kersti Joala, exhibition organiser:
“The response to the open call shows that sticker art is still very much alive and kicking, in spite of street art´s wider shift towards muralism. One of the goals of the festival is to demonstrate the richness of various techniques in street art, and stickers are still a very common medium used by street artists. If you look carefully enough, you´ll notice different stickers on almost every sign or electrical box. It´s nice to be able to celebrate this kind of creativity, which exists outside of the commercial street art sphere.”
Stencibility Festival took place from 18-23 June 2019 and celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.
Stencibility Festival street art manifesto:
1. Public space belongs to everyone who uses it
2. It is everyone’s duty to take care of it like you would in your own home
3. The purpose of street art is to enrich, not ruin, public space
4. All additions are welcome: if you don’t like it – improve it
5. To guarantee ultimate creative freedom, actions can be guided by common sense, not by law
Stencibility Festival is proudly supported by: City of Tartu, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Civitta, Converse, Skizze, Akzo Nobel, Karl Bilder, Omniva, Barlova, Mäshroom Stuudio, Egg Shell Stickers, Sticker Mule, Pulk Design, Pühaste and Tartu 2024.
You may consider a modest donation — however much you can afford, when it comes from the heart, it’s the kind of gesture that makes us warm with appreciation.