03 August 2012

Atle Østrem at Komafest

Vardø, Norway
Initiator and project artist Pøbel, produced by Nordnorsk Kultursenter and the inhabitants of the town
Visiting artists: Pøbel (NO), Horfe (FR), Remed (FR), Ken Sortais (FR), Ethos (BR), Roa (BE), Vhils (PO), E.B Itso (DK), Tristan Manco (UK), Stephen Powers (USA), Atle Østrem (NO), Husk Mit Navn (DK), Conor Harrington (IE)
Relational art / street art

Atle Østrem at Komafest
De siste ulvene / The Last Wolves

Vardø is situated on an island that used to be called Vargøya, the Wolf Island. Just like the wolves in Norway are almost extinct, the population of Vardø has been rapidly decreasing since the 1970s. 1789 is the year when Vardø got the rights of a town, something to be proud of. And if you manage to blend in with the town, you will enjoy living here. Just like the guys in his familiar style blend into the colors of the street.

Atle Østrem at Komafest
Mine sår, mine arr, mine år / my wounds, my scars, my years

This is a magnificient piece both by the process and the site. From the sea and the other side of the bay it is very visible, the words stand well out from the long row of quay sheds. But it is quite difficult to find from the land side, you must explore several quayside complexes, which is always interesting. The technique has been not to paint the letters, but the area around them so that the letters show what was before. The wounds, scars and years are still there under the fresh paint, but the painting let them become visible.

Atle Østrem is the only Norwegian artist in the group in addition to festival mastermind Pøbel. His works often contain both portraits and text. This wall is a nostalgic look back to the bad times, but the new times are now at hand, they came with this festival. Still the history is important, the wounds and scars and years must not be forgotten even if the town should be painted new and renovated all over.