It isn't just Nuart any more.
Scandinavia is taking their mural festivals seriously thanks to buoyant economies, arts programming support, and a growing global appreciation for art in the streets in general. Included in the list of recent festivals are Denmark's Galore (Copenhagen) and We Aart (Aalborg) and Sweden's Artscape (Malmö) as well as the more graffiti-inflected Örebro, Helsinki's Arabia and of course the one-kilometer long graffiti/Street Art slaughter that accompanies the mammoth music festival Roskilde.
This month humbly began No Limit in the small city of Borås, Sweden, and artist / curator Shai Dahan hopes to enliven the daily views for this population of 66,000 with his curated collection of international artists from street / graffiti / fine art backgrounds.
An artist and entrepreneur who moved here from New York three and a half years ago, Dahan has been rallying local building owners and government institutions to aid in his idea of mounting a show on walls in the city that emulates the success of such festivals elsewhere.
Isaac Cordal. The small scale installations by the Spanish artist provide a welcome answer to the ever more massive tendencies of wall installations in mural programs. No Limit Borås, Sweden. September 2014. (photo © Anders Kihl)
"I've been on quite a journey and accomplishing this project has been something I have been working on personally for over a year," he says. With participation and funding from the city of Borås, No Limit this month invited and hosted artists from countries such as The Netherlands, Brasil, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain and Sweden and included artists like Natalia Rak, ETAM Cru, Peeta, ECB, The London Police, Kobra, Ollio, Ekta, Carolina Falkholt, Issac Cordal and one of the earliest Street Art stencilists, Blek le Rat.
"And best of all, we had no bad weather. The day Natalia landed (she was the first to arrive) the sun came out, and it stayed out until the very last day," says Dahan of the festival that he deemed "phenomenal" and included guided tours that included over 200 people. "After everyone left, it began raining," he smiles.
For countries that have a so-called "zero tolerance" for illegal art or any kind like Sweden, mural festivals like these effectively circumvent the rigid approval process that typically characterizes public art projects and many make inroads into engaging public space with art in a new way that is emblematic of a vibrant global movement. It may be a tenuous line to walk, but more cities seem willing to embrace this swing of the pendulum with art in the streets.
The Brazillian Street Artist named Kobra created a portrait of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish chemist, engineer, industrialist, and inventor of dynamite. No Limit Borås, Sweden. September 2014. (photo © Anders Kihl)
The graffiti writing artist from Venice named Peeta basically killed his wall with a signature three dimensional tag that floats off of the wall. No Limit Borås, Sweden. September 2014. (photo © Anders Kihl)
Click HERE to learn more about No Limit Borås.
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