The last couple of weeks a street art festival called Komafest has taken place in my hometown Vardø, Norway. The norwegian artist Pøbel is the curator of the festival, having gathered eleven other highly regarded street artists from all over the world; Brazil, USA, Portugal, England, Belgium, France, Ireland and Norway.
After visiting Vardø during the snowball festival Yukigassen, Pøbel came in touch with one of the locals who told him about the long history of the place. Previously a lively coast centre, Vardø has been struggling for the last 20 years with lots of people moving away. The tide is however slowly turning for our little coast town in the northernmost part of Norway, and the outlook for better times is increasingly more positive.
This is also the focal point of the festival.
– The idea behind the project is give attention to the depopulation of Northern Norway, and make something worn out beautiful and interesting. To give attention to remote areas and prove to the youth that everything doesn’t have to happen in the big cities, said the Komafest curator calling himself Pøbel.
Having decreased from about 4 000 inhabitants to just above 2 000 sinces the 80s, there are lots of old and tarnished houses here where the time and weather have taken its toll. The street art festival aims to breathe life back into these old houses and buildings. The artists will wake up these buildings up from the “coma” – where the name Komafest stems from.
– The run-down buildings in Vardø is a direct consequense of people moving away. For an artist this is one of the most interesting backgrounds you can have, because it contains so much history, says Pøbel.
At the moment there are is about 10-15 works on the walls of different buildings, and there is more to come before the festival reach the climax with the opening on Saturday 21st july.
Below is a couple of shots of some of the art done by the artist these last couple of weeks. I will post all works here as they come up. You can also follow me on Instagram (@haakonjensen) to see the pictures as I post them.
One of my favourites is the first street art by the artist Ethos from Brazil. He actually came to Vardø in his t-shirt and shorts… We don’t wear shorts in Vardø. Never.
The work below is from a small place on the mainland called Smelror.
A little collage.