The final artists have been announced as part of Nuart Aberdeen which made its long-awaited return to Aberdeen last week when local talent Katie Guthrie, aka KMG made a welcome return to her hometown to create the first mural of the 2021 run.
Adding to the line-up already announced of Helen Burr, KMG and the pioneer of ‘balloon graff’ Fanakapan, is Henrik Uldalen and duo SNIK.
Henrik Uldalen is a self-taught artist whose creative production revolves around classic figurative painting, presented in a contemporary manner. Henrik explores the dark sides of life, nihilism, existentialism, longing and loneliness, juxtaposed with fragile beauty. Though a figurative painter, his focus has always been the emotional content rather than narratives. The atmosphere in his work is often presented in a dream or limbo-like state, with elements of surrealism and expressionism.
Internationally acclaimed artists SNIK took part in the 2018 festival creating one of the cities most loved murals named ‘Hold Fast Hope’ which faces out to the harbour from a wall on Virginia Street. The duo are delighted to be returning to the city which holds fond memories for them and said “This is our second visit to Aberdeen and our fourth wall for Nuart, we couldn’t be happier to be painting again this year. We can’t wait to be involved again, up a lift and painting a wall for such a great city.”
SNIK combine the creation of hand cut, multilayered stencils with haunting, ethereal portraiture, born from a male/female dual perspective. The duo’s work has been commissioned on walls the world over; their post-industrial scenes loom large over passers-by in locations as diverse as Miami and Hong Kong.
Away from city streets, the pair have become revered by urban contemporary art collectors in recent years, thanks to rare releases of editions that can take up to a year to produce. The smaller scale and intricacy of layered stencil work requires incredibly precise cuts and careful compositional thought which has captured the attention of critics, art lovers and collectors alike.
Together with these six visiting artists, all of whom are based in the UK, work from a host of international artists will form part of a massive outdoor gallery in an attempt to produce the world’s largest official Paste Up wall in the city centre.
A wall spanning nearly half a kilometre running from the East Green into the Tunnels has been earmarked as the site and feature curated pieces from a selection of Nuart artists, archive revolutionary street art posters from partner ‘flyingleaps’ together with submissions from artists, poets and creatives from across the globe.
Locals are also being asked to contribute to the spectacle, creating a truly collaborative ‘Paste Up’ wall which is hoped will result in it being the biggest of its kind in the world.
Commenting on the announcement Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen inspired said “The focus this year has been on bringing UK based artists to the city over a period of time which helps to ensure that that we can deliver the productions as safely as possible.
“Henrik Uldalen and SNIK are talented artists who will bring interesting work to the walls of our city. It’s particularly rewarding when artists want to return to our city as this shows the warmth of the welcome they received first time round.
“Katie created her first solo pieces for the festival last week and its fantastic. With a nod to the seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen and concept based on the favourite childhood story Gulliver’s Travels, ‘Ken’ is sure to be a hit with locals and visitors to our great city”.
KMG created two murals during her time in the city and ‘Ken’ can be found at the far end of Union Square car park on the wall which can be viewed from Palmerston Road and her other piece is located on a wall on the Bon Accord roof top garden.
Nuart Aberdeen is curated and produced by the Stavanger based arts organisation Nuart, spearheaded by Curator and Director Martyn Reed, one of the worlds most respected and critically acknowledged authorities on the culture, he added “Nuart Aberdeen captures the imagination of people in a special way and we leave it to Henrik and SNK to create their art and the hope you the viewer will see something positive in what we’re trying to do.”
Nuart Aberdeen 2021 has returned as a COVID secure series of individual street art productions which will take shape on the city’s walls throughout June and July with artists producing work supported by a local production team during the extended festival period.
As a presenting partner since Nuart Aberdeen first began in 2017, law firm Burness Paull has been an enthusiastic backer of the festival’s work.
Bob Ruddiman, partner in its Aberdeen office, commented: “Supporting creative arts at a critical juncture like this can help stimulate business in an incredibly valuable way.
“The murals created by artists during the festival make us all look at our buildings and the city in a different light. It’s just what’s needed to give everyone a lift, and will also act as a draw for visitors locally, nationally and globally – even if that’s on a virtual basis for now.
“It’s something that everyone can enjoy for free at their own pace, and take real pride in.”
With the first two productions complete Aberdeen Inspired are confident the plans for the event ensure the safety of artists, the production team, volunteers, and the public. Elements which would attract large scale gatherings, like the guided tours and public launch will not take place, at this stage, to keep the public safe. Instead, the emphasis will be on providing resources and information to allow members of the public to conduct their own self-guided tours which can be enjoyed at a time which suits the individual or group, in accordance with the latest COVID-19 restrictions and regulations.
Nuart Aberdeen began in 2017 and has in just four years had a transformational effect on the city and its people and has won both national and international acclaim and awards.
The festival is funded in partnership by Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeen Inspired with the support of Burness Paull and Scotia Access Services.