Large crowds are expected in Aberdeen this weekend for an award-winning international street art festival which has transformed walls across the city centre.
Nuart Aberdeen artists are applying the finishing touches to their works which organisers say will surprise and delight members of the public.
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.
It has once again seen a team of international, national and local artists develop their latest works on walls around the city centre. Festival artists from Argentina, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal and the UK have been working across the city centre throughout the week.
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.
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 people will have 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. Owens will be ably supported by Aberdeen’s own champions of all things House, Rhythm.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Our festival artists are putting the finishing touches to their works and very we’re excited to see the end results on walls across the city centre which are sure to surprise and delight.
“We’ve delivered a fantastic festival programme of events which has something for all the family and offers opportunities for people to get involved. It is the only street art festival of this scale in Scotland and considered to be one of the best in the UK and beyond.
“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 looking forward to welcoming large crowds to the city centre over the weekend, as the guided tours get underway around the new art pieces. We fully expect to draw visitors into our great city centre from beyond the north-east and play our part in making Aberdeen a destination of choice.
“There’s been a real buzz around the city as people have seen the new works taking shape which will undoubtedly provoke plenty of discussion.
“The international array of artists all bring something different to Nuart Aberdeen 2018 and it is really shaping up to be, yet again, a very special event for the city that we hope brings much joy to all those who come to see it be it over the festival weekend or the days, weeks, months and years that follow.”
As well as the artistic activity, 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 new mural on Adelphi Lane, which will honour numerous Scottish women recognized by Amnesty for their role in campaigning for various human rights causes.
The highly anticipated UK premiere of Shadowman will take place at the Belmont Filmhouse 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
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.
James Finucane, Nuart Aberdeen festival manager, said: “The feedback we’ve received from the public both on the streets and online has been wonderful to hear and read.
“Last year’s event really seems to have given the local population a taste for street art, and it’s this engagement and debate that the work generates that really gives street art it’s longevity.
“We hope that people will take up the opportunity to hear directly from this year’s artists about their creations and the inspirations behind them, as well as the film screenings, workshops and tours that together provide the wider context for the physical works being produced on the street.”
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.
Aberdeen City Council Leader, councillor Jenny Laing, said: “It is so exciting to see the artwork for Nuart Aberdeen starting to appear around the city, it’s sure to be a fantastic launch weekend with thousands of visitors coming out to see the spectacular street art.
“Aberdeen is a dynamic city which offers a great deal for both residents and visitors, and as a Council we are proud to be investing £300,000 over three years to support Nuart Aberdeen.
“Through our City Centre Masterplan Aberdeen City Council is committed to making Aberdeen an even more vibrant place to live, work and visit – and a year-round events programme, is integral to that.
“Nuart Aberdeen is an exciting addition to the summer events programme which provides an opportunity to promote and enhance the long-term economic prosperity of Aberdeen and the wider region by attracting visitors, both local and from further afield.”
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.
Martin Gilbert, co-chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen, said: “Together with Burness Paull, Aberdeen Standard Investments are delighted to get behind Nuart Aberdeen, and see the city’s cultural offering grow.
“Artistic cities are vibrant cities and accessible artwork shows a city’s imaginative culture.
“In bringing internationally acclaimed artists for the second year of an award-winning street art festival, Nuart Aberdeen is placing the region on the arts map and we’re already seeing the visual impact this is having all around Aberdeen.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how the festival develops over the days ahead, combining artistic achievement with community involvement and engagement.”
Elaine Farquharson-Black, partner at Burness Paull, said: “Burness Paull has a long-standing history in Aberdeen and our support for Nuart along with Aberdeen Inspired underlines our commitment to promoting the city to global audiences.
“Nuart brings street artists and visitors from across the world to Aberdeen, which not only stimulates the economy but also positively reflects the city’s image and provides a real boost to civic pride for people living and working here. We look forward to seeing the city embrace the festival and wish it every success.”
For more information about Nuart Aberdeen 2018 and to view the festival programme, please visit: www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk