The theme of freedom will be explored by street artists from around the world for Nuart Aberdeen, which returns to the city in April.

The diverse line-up for the award-winning street art festival includes artists from Russia, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Iran, Argentina, Portugal and the UK.

International renowned artists Biancoshock, Icy & Sot, Jofre Oliveras, Nuno Viegas, Paul Harfleet, Sandra Chevrier, Vladimir Abikh, Marina Zumi, Jocoba Neipoort and Pejac will descend on the city to showcase the real scope of street art practice.

Returning to the city for the fourth time, the festival will take place from Thursday April 23 to Sunday April 26. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Aberdeen over the launch weekend last year to explore and discover the incredible range of artwork created.

Nuart Aberdeen is curated and produced by the Stavanger based arts organisation Nuart and spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, with generous support from delivery partners Burness Paull and The McGinty’s Group.

This year the festival will explore the theme of freedom and following on from the success of last year, aims to continue to collaborate with the city and its people through enabling legacy work in local communities.

Nuart Aberdeen is dedicated to promoting art as part of people’s everyday lives, bringing art and artists out of studios, basements and institutions and onto the city streets, as well as stimulating debate by challenging entrenched notions of what public art is, what it can be and who it is for.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Nuart Aberdeen captures the imagination of the public in a special way and alongside the Nuart team, we can’t wait to bring it back to the city in April.

“The fourth iteration will continue to build on the successes of the previous three years, when another world class line-up of artists descend on Aberdeen and share new street art interventions which incorporate and address a wide range of issues, current affairs and history, all for the public to enjoy and interpret.

“Nuart Aberdeen has and continues to be truly transformational for Aberdeen, leaving a permanent legacy behind with which the city, its businesses and its people can benefit from.”

Martyn Reed, Nuart director and curator, said: “As more and more municipalities recognise the value of art in the streets, so more and more self styled cultural production companies are being formed to take advantage of these newly available resources. Rent a mural companies with an eye on the bottom line are springing up across the globe. What is a genuinely vibrant, dynamic and free public art form, developed from the bottom up –one that encourages agency amongst a city’s citizens –i,e the desire to go home and have a go yourself -is in danger of being eroded. The proliferation of large scale murals, though in no way negative, can, if detached from place become merely decorative.

“We are always conscious that neglecting to look at the smaller more human scale works and the vast diversity in the culture, can suck the oxygen from the local scene. One of our core goals has always been to plant seeds in the local community, to show what can be achieved on your own with nothing more than a home printer, a bucket of paste and an idea.

“Nuart have been fortunate to have the full support of Aberdeen Inspired, who from day one, understood that we were about more than just “bread and circus”, that we were dedicated to challenging both ourselves and the city, by producing works that were not always pretty, but would hopefully have a different type of legacy over time. Sometimes the result won’t be a collective “ooooooo” or “wooooow” at a colourful mural - but rather a child from Torry making his first stencil, a kid linking his chalk drawing on the pavement to the work in the art gallery, or as we’ve shown previously, senior citizens picking up spray cans and finding a new type of freedom.

“With this concept of “Freedom” in mind, we’ve invited a much broader and more diverse group of artists from across the globe, artists from Russia, Iran, Canada, Spain, America, Portugal, Denmark, Italy as well as the UK will descend on the city to showcase the real breadth of street art practice.”

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson, said: “Nuart has rapidly established itself as a massive part of Aberdeen’s festival calendar and one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the city, attracting crowds – and artists – from all over the globe.

“Aberdeen City Council is justly proud of our investment in the cultural renaissance taking place across the city in recent years and how the public have responded to our efforts to make the arts accessible to all.

“We are proud to be supporting Nuart, one of the jewels in the crown. Today’s announcement really helps whet the appetite and I’m sure as we near April there will be an even greater sense of expectancy in the city as we look forward to an amazing weekend.”

Commenting on the plans for this year’s street art festival Peter Smith, partner at Burness Paull, said: “Nuart has become a real symbol of Aberdeen’s cultural revival. It’s an event that has really captured the imagination of local people and visitors to the city.

“We are very proud to have supported it over the past three years and played a part in changing perceptions of Aberdeen as a destination. There are ambitious plans in place to raise the bar once again in 2020, including more stunning visual masterpieces by inspirational artists and thought-provoking events to engage audiences from far and wide.

“As a business that’s proud of our commitment to the city we’re looking forward to working with Aberdeen Inspired to ensure this year’s Nuart Aberdeen festival is the best yet.”

Italian artist Biancoshock actively utilises the city as a stage for his independent urban installations, which vastly differ in terms of technique, materials and subjects. These artistic actions unite through the intent of establishing a reflective space for passersby, as he aims to emotionally disturb people’s day-to-day routines, sometimes ironically, other times provocatively.

Originally from the city of Tabriz in Iran and currently based in Brooklyn, New York, brothers ICY & SOT have received international recognition with their ability to transform difficult conversations and global affairs into visual work.

Copenhagen-based muralist Jacoba Niepoort sees the street as her own personal playground and uses her murals to address societal concerns and change, with the understanding that emotions which are most personal, are often universally felt by others.

Spanish visual artist Jofre Oliveras utilises a spectrum of mediums to create his murals, sculptures and installations. His distinct imagery uses satire to criticize social convictions and conventionalism through witty sculptural and conceptual interventions, alongside his own meticulously executed murals in the public arena.

Marina Zumi is an Argentinian artist, best known for her recognizable depictions of geometry and symmetry in which she emphasises equilibrium, interconnectivity and the power of colour.

Muralist and painter, Nuno Viegas’ artistic roots are entrenched in the late 90’s graffiti scene, which he continues to draw inspiration from. The Portuguese artist presents a contrast between the visually aggressive and sometimes dirty reality of traditional graffiti and its peaceful and clean representation in his works.

Influenced by his own experiences of homophobia on the streets of Manchester, London based artist Paul Harfleet plants pansies at the sites of homophobic abuse. This simple act challenges the viewer and puts flora forward as an act of rebellion that shows solidarity with those affected by homophobic rhetoric.

Barcelona-based fine artist Pejac has a unique visual language which highlights topics which touch most artists work today. There is an effortless elegance to his work; from site-specific interventions, miniature window drawings, to elaborate replicas of classical masterpieces, Pejac’s art is provocative and critical.

Self-taught Canadian artist Sandra Chevrier creates contemporary pop-art in the urban scene. Chevrier's portraits are quite literally torn between the fantastical heroics and iconography of comic books, often portrayed as the masks on the women she paints.

Nuart Aberdeen began in 2017 and has proved hugely popular, attracting thousands of visitors to the city centre each year.

For more information about Nuart Aberdeen visit: https://nuartaberdeen.co.uk