Nuart Aberdeen named one of world’s top street art festivals as weekend launch approaches

05/06/2024
Hera of Herakut in front of her new mural at Union Point

ALL the city is a canvas as Nuart Aberdeen bursts into life this Thursday (June 6) – having just been named as one of the top six street art festivals in the world. 

A total of 11 internationally acclaimed street artists have been transforming walls and spaces across the city for the festival, which runs from Thursday, June 6, to Sunday June 9, in one of the most popular events in Aberdeen’s cultural calendar. 

Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the city to discover the new works – ranging from home-grown talent KMG creating mythical creatures on walls at Aberdeen International Airport to much-loved returning artist Hera of Herakut (Jasmin Siddiqui) working on a towering, epic mural at Union Point in the harbour. 

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, which stages the festival in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, said those art fans are in for a world-class treat.

“The Financial Times has just named Nuart Aberdeen as one of its ‘six street-art destinations to see now’ alongside the likes Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, and San Francisco,” he said.

“That is just the latest recognition of the global reach Nuart Aberdeen has achieved since Aberdeen Inspired first brought the festival here in 2017. We know many people in the global street art community have said Nuart Aberdeen is the best street art festival in the world. 

“To have something of that calibre, with that recognition, happening right here in Aberdeen this week is something everyone in the city should be proud of – and come along and enjoy. You don’t need to fly to Rio or travel to San Francisco to see the best street art in the world – it’s on your doorstep.”

There will also be a raft of other Nuart events and attractions over the festival weekend. This includes:  

  • Families getting involved with artist Molly Hankinson in creating the world’s largest chalk mural at Marischal College Quad in the Chalk Don’t Chalk event.
  • The return of Inspired Nights with food, drink and entertainment at Shiprow. 
  • The UK premiere of a Banksy documentary. 
  • A prestigious street art conference, coordinated by Prof. Susan Hansen, attracting experts and academics from around the world.

As well as KMG and Hera, other artists taking part include Italian artist Millo, who creates friendly giant and fun figures, and Germany’s Case Maclaim famous for his photorealistic hands bursting from walls. They will be working to this year’s Nuart Aberdeen theme of “living heritage”.

The walls being worked on include Atholl House, the Ibis Hotel on Shiprow, the former John Lewis building, the Primark wall at Wapping Street, and Aberdeen Health Village.

Nuart Aberdeen founder and curator, Martyn Reed, said locals and visitors can expect to see world class street art works and mural from some of the most renowned artists in the field, plus exciting newcomers. All of that, plus speakers and researchers from as far afield as Amsterdam, Sweden and New York are arriving to take part in the a conference which is “far from dry and dull”.

Martyn said he was delighted at the way the people of Aberdeen have taken Nuart to their heart over the years. 

“I think maybe because it’s not part of the central belt, it shows that Aberdonians can produce and host world-class events, and though a few of us do fly in, it’s very much a local affair produced by an oddball group with roots firmly in the city, from the volunteers to the companies and organisations that support it,” he said.

“It’s an unpretentious affair that I think very much fits the ‘outsider’ character of the city and its people despite the supposed oil wealth.”

And he has a straightforward message to people coming to enjoy Nuart Aberdeen. 

“These streets are your streets and we’re honoured and privileged to be walking and working on them,” he said.

“There really is something for everyone during the opening weekend. For me personally, I’d love to hear that someone came to Nuart and went home and had a go at making something themselves.”

Julie Wood, Chief Officer for City Development and Regeneration at Aberdeen City Council, said: “The Council is again helping fund Nuart, which creates a buzz across the whole city and underlines Aberdeen’s ability to host major events.

“The city provides a unique backdrop, and the enthusiasm of residents and international visitors will as always add to the atmosphere.

“We hope as many as people as possible go along to enjoy one of the best street festivals on offer.”

Meanwhile, Adrian said people will already have seen the talented creatives hard at work transforming spaces across the city, helping generate a buzz of excitement for the arrival of the Nuart Aberdeen festival weekend. 

He said: “We can’t wait to see the finished works – especially Hera’s mural at Union Point which will be seen from miles around – and know people will be arriving from across the city, the north-east, Scotland and even overseas to discover and enjoy these works. 

“This underlines that Nuart isn’t just about creating street art for everyone to enjoy now and far into the future, but also the economic impact the festival brings. The thousands enjoying Nuart this weekend will linger in the city, discover other great attractions – from restaurants to pubs, shops to galleries and museums, and boost our local economy. 

“And that impact isn’t just for this weekend. We know that people know see Aberdeen as the street art capital of Scotland – if not the UK – and want to visit year-round. That is a lasting legacy and an important one in these challenging times for our city centre.”

One of the best ways of enjoying a premiere of the new works is to join a Nuart Aberdeen walking tour during the festival. Always hugely popular, advance booking is highly recommended. They run on Saturday and Sunday at 1pm and 4pm, leaving from Aberdeen Maritime Museum on Shiprow.

The artists taking part in Nuart Aberdeen 2024 are: 

Addam Yekutieli aka Know Hope

Bahia Shehab

Case Maclaim

CBloxx

Hera of Herakut (Jasmin Siddiqui)

KMG

Mahn Kloix

Millo

Molly Hankinson

Niels Shoe Meulman

Wasted Rita

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