Artist talks and debates, workshops for children, guided tours, creative collaborations with north-east institutions, and a UK film premiere will all form part of an award-winning international street art festival which will return to Aberdeen this spring.
Organisers of Nuart Aberdeen have unveiled their festival programme which promises to have something for all the family when the event takes place in the city centre from Thursday, April 12 to Sunday, April 15.
The festival, which is delivered by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired in partnership with Nuart Festival and Aberdeen City Council, is now in its second year and is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the city.
It will once again see a team of international, national and local artists develop their latest works on walls around the city centre. Earlier this year festival artists from Argentina, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal and the UK were announced.
The theme for this year’s festival is ‘A Revolution of the Ordinary’ which will investigate the parallel world of non-institutional art and culture through an extensive program of artist talks and debates, film screenings, guided tours, workshops and satellite events over four days.
This year will see the renowned Peacock Visual Arts (PVA) collaborate with Nuart for an exhibition that launches on Thursday, April 12 and runs until Saturday, May 5.
‘Inky Protest’ will feature a selection of work plucked from the archives of Nuart Gallery and Peacock Visual Arts respectively, including prints by some of the world’s leading names in the street, urban and lowbrow art movements from Hunter S. Thompson confidante Ralph Steadman to New York legends Futura and Martha Cooper.
Later that evening, The Anatomy Rooms plays host to a lecture by esteemed author, critic, curator and walking Encyclopaedia of all things New York underground Carlo McCormick, fresh from advising the Barbican Centre on the most popular show in the organisations history – the recent retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Boom For Real.
Inspired by his curation of the first major exhibition of influential artist RAMMΣLLZΣΣ (set to open in New York this May), McCormick promises to take the audience on a meandering philosophical journey celebrating the power of the letter form – the basis of all graffiti and street art.
The Belmont Filmhouse will host a number of events throughout the festival, including an Amnesty International panel debate on the morning of Friday, April 13 focusing on ‘Women Human Rights Defenders’ with Somali born Scottish refugee and women’s rights activist, Amal Azzudin, Nuart artist Carrie Reichardt, Professor Sarah Pederson from Robert Gordon University and Dr Fiona Jane Brown, founder of Hidden Aberdeen Tours.
The talk will discuss how art and activism can help make visible the invisible by raising awareness about historically overlooked events and present-day injustices.
It will take inspiration from Carrie Reichardt’s soon to be produced mural on Adelphi Lane, which will honour numerous Scottish women recognized by Amnesty for their role in campaigning for various human rights causes.
Later that day, the highly anticipated UK premiere of Shadowman will take place at 6pm. Introduced by Carlo McCormick, the film focuses on Richard Hambleton who was a founder of the street art movement before succumbing to drugs and homelessness.
Rediscovered 20 years later, he gets a second chance to relaunch his career prior to his untimely passing in 2017. Tickets for all three film screenings are on sale now via: www.belmontfilmhouse.com
That same evening, Nuart’s legendary ‘Fight Club’ returns to Underdog from 9.30pm to 11pm. Inspired by the original Greek Symposia where debates took place fueled by copious amounts of wine, Nuart introduce a hot topic related to Street Art culture to be debated by two opposing teams made up of artists, academics and industry professionals.
The audience are invited to participate and settle the score at the end of the discussion by voting for the winner at the end of the evening.
The following day, Nuart Aberdeen’s public opening will be held at The Green at midday on Saturday, April 14. It will feature live music, performances and will offer the chance to purchase exclusive Nuart Aberdeen merchandise.
On both Saturday and Sunday, 90-minute walking tours of the latest street art will be provided at 1pm and 2pm. Festival guides will take groups on a walk from Aberdeen city centre to the west end; taking in large-scale murals as well as the smaller, hidden artworks created at this year’s festival.
Saturday night rounds off with a very special live vocal and DJ set from Chicago House legend and one of the pioneers of club culture, Robert Owens, who will fly in to Aberdeen to headline Nuart Aberdeen’s Launch party at The Tunnels. Owens will be ably supported by Aberdeen’s own champions of all things House, Rhythm.
On Sunday, April 15 ‘Chalk, Don’t Chalk’, a participatory public art project will take place on the St Nicolas Centre Rooftop Garden from 11am to 3pm. Children and adults alike will be able to create their own chalk street art pieces, with participating Nuart artist Bortusk Leer and friends on hand to teach and guide children on their designs.
Held in the Norwegian city of Stavanger since 2001 and widely regarded as the world’s leading celebration of street art, Nuart Aberdeen is the first and only overseas version of the festival, first hosted in Aberdeen in 2017 to widespread acclaim.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Planning for Nuart Aberdeen is at an advanced stage and we’re very pleased to offer a fantastic programme of events for the festival.
“The debut festival was an overwhelming success in 2017 and we plan to build on that with everything that’s on offer this year.
“We are delighted that the workshops for local students over the festival weekend have been over-subscribed, there is clear appetite for this in the city amongst our young creatives.
“There will be something for all of the family and I’m sure people of all ages will be interested in the opportunities to get involved in working on street art during the festival.
“I know many people are excited for the return of the festival and it won’t be long now until the artists are here in Aberdeen working on more fantastic street art for everyone to admire and enjoy around the city centre. We can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store for us this year.”
James Finucane, Nuart Aberdeen festival manager, said: “Street Art is without a doubt the most exciting development in visual art for decades with roots ranging from the avant-garde Situationist movement of the 60’s to the reactive art and music of late 70’s/early 80’s New York.
“Many of our speakers have lived through the transition of graffiti and street art from the margins to the mainstream, and we’re delighted that so many leading international artists, writers and curators working with this culture will be sharing their unique insight with us as part of this year’s programme.
“We’re particularly grateful to Belmont Filmhouse, who will host our talks program and a ‘season’ of Street Art films for the second year running, including the UK Premiere of Shadowman, which has received widespread critical acclaim since its release and was New York Times’ Critic’s Pick in November 2017.
“Our new partnership with Peacock Visual Arts also brings us together with one of the world’s most respected print houses, whom we’ve admired from afar for many years.
“As well as trawling through their archive of treasures for the Inky Protest exhibition, Peacock will be hosting Risograph printing workshops for budding would-be print-makers.
“The aim of these workshops, as with all our events, is to stimulate debate and our collective imagination about what art is and, more importantly, what it can be.”
David McCracken, Print Curator at Peacock Visual Arts, said: “We are delighted to be participating in what we’re sure will be another very successful Nuart project.
“Alongside hosting Nipper’s ‘Mission Directives’ project, Nuart and PVA will be presenting Inky Protest, which is an exhibition of selected prints from the archives of both organisations.
“We will also host a series of Risographic workshops where participants will be given the opportunity to design and print an editioned artwork assisted by our skilled technicians.”
Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty International’s Scotland Programme Director, said: “We are delighted that such an acclaimed and talented artist as Carrie Reichardt will honour the Scottish Suffragette Spirit nominees in her artwork.
“We value the unique power of art to unite people, inspire activism and promote human rights change. We are thrilled to be participating in Nuart Aberdeen and look forward to sharing Carrie’s work with our global movement of human rights defenders.”
For more information about Nuart Aberdeen 2018 and to view the festival programme, please visit: www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk
Notes to editors:
The Nuart Aberdeen festival won four awards last year, including the UK Association of Town and City Management’s Innovation Award, the Visit Scotland Award for Tourism.
It also won the place management BID award at the 2017 National Business Improvement District (BID) Awards and was also the signature piece Aberdeen Inspired’s winning entry to secure the 2017 European BID of the Year win in July.
Nuart Aberdeen is supported by presenting partners Burness Paull and Aberdeen Standard Investments alongside a growing community of independent local partners and suppliers.
Aberdeen City Council recently committed to providing funding for Nuart Aberdeen which will see the local authority provide £300,000 over the next three years.
All festival activity with Peacock Visual Arts will be housed in The W OR M – the organisation’s new project space on the Castlegate. The W OR M’s mission is to activate spaces where artists and the citizens, prompted by artworks, congregate around ideas and practices that interrupt everyday routines. Everyone is welcome.