After being postponed in April 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, NuArt Aberdeen has returned in 2021 with a series of brand new work brightening up the city centre. The 2021 festival is bringing back some artists from previous years as well as giving new artists the chance to leave their mark on the city.
This year NuArt Aberdeen is welcoming back renowned UK artist, Helen Bur, whose mural disappeared as Greyfriars House was demolished in late 2020. Her return to the city will see her explore the festival’s theme of “Reconnection” as she creates a new larger-than-life work in the city.
Helen’s previous piece in Aberdeen was a dual mural on Greyfriars House that depicted two of her friends. It is great to see she has brought the couple back for 2021, now depicting the latest addition to their family. The mural also happened to be created during #worldbreastfeedingweek2021 which gives the piece an even more powerful message.
Fanakapan is a London based street/graffiti artist who has been around since the early 2000s. His painted 3D effect street art of balloon-based/reflective subjects are always extremely eye-catching and always liven up the surrounding area.
For his 2021 NuArt piece, Fanakapan has created a gorgeous piece depicting two balloon smiley faces. The art hopes to show that the simple act of smiling can be incredibly powerful, even infectious.
KMG is an Aberdeen based artist that has been creating outdoor artwork for over a decade and she has contributed two pieces for NuArt 2021. Her artwork aims to encourage the passer-by to pause in a moment of reflection and connectivity.
Her two pieces can be found right in the centre of the city. One is down at Union Square and depicts KMG’s signature characters running amok on the side of Union Square’s car park. This piece also received an added touch from fellow artist Fanakapan. KMG’s second piece is found on Bon Accord Rooftop Garden and is more of her signature style, but with some added splash of colour.
The second artist to create a piece for NuArt 2021 was Henrik Uldalen. Henrik is a self taught artist who often explores darker themes of loneliness and longing. His piece for Aberdeen in 2021continues these themes but juxtaposes them with fragile beauty.
You can find Henrik’s NuArt 2021 work on Spring Garden which is also accessible via Gerrard Street.
Stuck Up Project
The 2021 festival brought a brand new idea to the streets of the Granite City. NuArt secured 1500ft of space in Aberdeen City Centre to create what will become the world’s largest paste-up wall, bringing three separate collections of art together. NuArt’s curator Martin Reed will work with Paste Up artist UNCLE to bring a curated selection of art to the project.
Flyingleaps, the initiative founded in response to the Brexit referendum result, will celebrate its fifth anniversary with street poster art spanning its revolutionary archives, created by a group of urban contemporary political artists.
A NuArt Aberdeen favourite is the famous Leopard by Hama Woods from 2019. The piece takes inspiration from Aberdeen City’s coat of arms which features a leopard and adds a burst of colour to a piece of local history. This isn’t a piece from the 2021 line-up but is a great way to see how the festival has developed over the years and the way different artists have interpreted Aberdeen. This piece can be found on Crooked Lane right in the centre of town so can’t be missed on any NuArt Tour.
Starting from Saturday the 28th of August, NuArt Aberdeen will be back with walking tours that will be running every Saturday at 11am until the end of October. The tours will begin at the Bon Accord Rooftop Garden and will take in the work from this year, as well as incorporating some hidden gems from previous years. To ensure a safe experience for all in attendance you will need to book a ticket on the tour and that can be done on the Aberdeen Performing Arts website. If you would prefer to make your own way around all the NuArt from this year and previous you can find the locations on this Street Art Map and see them all.