Nuart Aberdeen is back for 2020 and bringing with it a host of new artists. For the fourth year in a row, the popular street art festival is returning to the granite city. Widely considered by many to be the world’s leading celebration of street art it’s already helped to transform the city.
First started in 2000 over in the Norwegian city of Stavanger. The festival has over recent years really gained roots in Scotland. Some of the biggest names in street art already having painted a number of it’s walls. This time a further 11 internationally acclaimed street artists will be visiting Aberdeen.
Developed in collaboration with Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council. The 2020 edition of Nuart Aberdeen is intended to provide a platform for local, national and international artists to showcase their work. This will be through a series of site-specific murals, installations, interventions and temporary exhibitions.
Nuart Aberdeen Artists 2020
First up for Nuart Aberdeen 2020 is Biancoshock. An Italian public artist, he began contributing to the scene in 2004. Recognising that there was no set category which could really express his work, he chose to define it as Ephermeralism. Biancoshock utilizes the city itself as a stage for his independent urban installations. These are works which can vastly differ in terms of technique, materials and subjects. His aim is to establish a space for reflection for those who pass by his work.
Icy & Sot (IR)
Originally from the city of Tabriz in Iran. Brothers ICY & SOT began establishing themselves in the streets of their home town in 2006. Currently based in Brooklyn, New York. The artists find themselves in constant pursuit of new mediums which can give their ideas the greatest resonance. Using unusual materials such as chain link fences, barbed wire, old rusty shovels or oil cans. The result will often be the creation of powerful site specific works. ICY & SOT’s art is inspired by global issues. Topics such as equal rights, imprisonment, the plights of migrants and refugees, climate change and the pitfalls of capitalism.
Jacoba Niepoort (DK)
Copenhagen based muralist Jacoba Niepoort sees the street as her own personal playground. Using her art as a tool to address current social issues. She does this through a dissection of her own emotions. Believing that connectness facilitates empathy. Jacoba uses her murals to address societal concerns and change. Creating a space in which viewers of her work can share and reflect. She hopes that people will be able to discard their own feelings of disconnect, indifference and bias.
Jofre Oliveras (ES)
Spanish visual artist Jofre Oliveras utilizes a spectrum of mediums to create his murals, sculptures and installations. A recent graduate from the Stavanger edition of Nuart, he is returning for Aberdeen in 2020. He looks for interactions and conversations which happen in our towns which are both sanctioned and unsanctioned. For Jofre, art is a tool that defines the need for change. This is both in individuals and society as a whole. His imagery using satire to criticise social convictions and conventionalism.
Marina Zumi (AR)
We last saw Argentinian street artist Marina Zumi during her visit to London in 2016. Now back in the UK for Nuart Aberdeen 2020. She is best known for her depictions of geometry and symmetry. Emphasising equilibrium, interconnectivity and the power of colour. Zumi’s murals transform large scale walls in public spaces. Through her canvases, murals and light installations, Marina mimics the balance and freedom that happens after nightfall. There is a serenity in her surrender to darkness. To the world beyond daytime and how colours transform when the sun sets.
Nuno Viegas (PT)
Muralist and painter, Nuno Viegas’ artistic roots are entrenched in the late 90’s graffiti scene. This is where the Portugese artist continues to draw inspiration. Moving to the Netherlands Viegas work evolved. Ultimately leading him to discover a new artistic identity. His newer artwork presents an outlook which presents a space between the worlds of muralism and graffiti. He looks to represent graffiti culture through his visually captivating work. This, in a time where the definition of graffiti tends to get blurred and mixed with street art.
Paul Harfleet (UK)
Heading up from London to take part in Nuart Aberdeen 2020 is Paul Harfleet. He plants pansies at the sites of homophobic abuse. Generally without civic permission. He finds the nearest source of soil in parallel to where the incident occurred. Then he plants one unmarked pansy.
Influenced by his own experiences of homophobia on the streets of Manchester. The artist now plants pansies for others. He then documents each location to reveal the historical, cultural and personal histories of homophobia. This simple act challenges the viewer. Putting forth flora as an act of rebellion that shows solidarity with those affected by homophobic rhetoric. Titles like “Let’s kill the Bati-Man!” and “Fucking Faggot!” reveal a frequent reality of the gay experience. This often goes unreported to authorities and media. His solitary pansies act as a gesture of quiet resistance; some flourish while others wilt in urban hedgerows.
Barcelona-based fine artist Pejac has a unique visual language. There is a poetry and sensitivity woven into the fabric of his artwork. It allows him to explore and portray critical social and environmental concerns. Able to take a deep rooted issue. He then is able to adapt it to reflect current culture. There is an effortless elegance to his work. From site-specific interventions and miniature window drawings. To elaborate replicas of classical masterpieces. Pejac’s art is provocative and critical.
Sandra Chevrier (CA)
Self-taught Canadian artist Sandra Chevrier creates contemporary pop-art in the urban scene. She is well known for her captivating portraits of women. Often with a focus on their eyes. An obsessive and highly tuned skill which allows her to describe herself as “a gaze collector’’. Chevrier’s portraits are quite literally torn. Between the fantastical heroics and iconography of comic books. Often they are portrayed as the masks on the women she paints.
The pairing of opposites is a persistent and powerful theme that runs through her work. Fragility vs Strength, Triumph over Defeat. Sandra’s painted figures emerge from a surreal world of their own. Exploring the narrow identities which humans use to understand themselves, their gender roles and their own social limitations.
Vladimir Abikh (RU)
From Yekaterinburg in Russia. Artist Vladimir Abikh’s work is an intersection between a variety of mediums and styles. From staged interventions involving viewers in active engagement with the art to site specific installations, video, street art and photography. As an artist he is multi-faceted. Touching on and discussing deep rooted topics. They include urbanism, social injustice, and our place as humans in the age of information. Vladimir uses a sharply concise irony to analyze and reveal the inner mechanisms and functions of the social-cultural phenomena. In essence, why we do what we do as humans.
Martha Cooper (US)
From 1977 until 1980, Martha Cooper worked as a staff photographer for the New York Post. Between daily assignments, Cooper began to document unsupervised children playing amidst the rubble. In doing so she captured the disintegrating neighborhoods of New York primarily on the Lower East Side. The photographs focus on the activities of children playing and being creative on New York City streets. They largely depict groups of children building toys or playing with found objects. This in the days before video games and computers. These photographs reflect a time that was not so long ago. Yet where there was a radically different approach to social norms and child rearing.
The Nuart Aberdeen festival was due to place from Thursday 23 – Sunday 26 April 2020. The plan wsa for it to be supplemented by a program of talks, presentations, film screenings, free guided walking tours and workshops. The team at Nuart instead created a special series of Lockdown editions which you can see here.