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Scottish pensioners to take to city wall with spray paint for graffiti art

The group of 16 senior citizens have been taking lessons in street art in Aberdeen.

Artist Arthur Bordalo, from Lisbon, Portugal, alongside his installation Endangered Myths which has been unveiled as part of this year’s Nuart Aberdeen Festival (Jane Barlow/PA)
Artist Arthur Bordalo, from Lisbon, Portugal, alongside his installation Endangered Myths which has been unveiled as part of this year’s Nuart Aberdeen Festival (Jane Barlow/PA)

A group of Scottish pensioners will pick up spray cans for the first time to create a piece of permanent street art for a city wall.

The 16 senior citizens have spent days in the classroom learning about the art form as part of the Nuart Aberdeen festival.

They will put their theory into practice on Friday, when they will spray a mural on a wall in the centre of the Granite City.

It is the first time the Lata-65 Young At Art project, which teaches graffiti to pensioners, has taken place in the UK.

Pearl Cameron, 68, a retired teddy-bear maker, signed up for the classes after her grandson told her about them.

“It is great to learn new skills,” she said.

“We made our tags. They are inspired by something in your history, something that is important to you.”

Maggie Wilcockson, 70, a retired registered nurse and midwife, became involved as a way of making new friends.

“I don’t have a big social circle here because I’ve lived overseas for so long and lost contact with people,” she said.

“My daughter thought it would be an excellent way to get myself back in the social scene and meet new people.”

Vivien Kennils, 67, a retired home economics technician, said she had always “frowned” on street art.

She signed up to the classes, taught by Lara Seixo Rodrigues from Lisbon, after being encouraged by her daughter.

“As much as I did hate people putting names on walls, street art is different,” she said.

“It enhances places – certainly here in Aberdeen.

“We had a presentation on all the different types of street art and graffiti. It was fantastic. I actually have an appreciation for it now.”

The piece, by Aberdeen’s so-called Graffiti Grannies and Graffiti Granddad, will join artworks by international street artists.

In total, 13 artists have created piece for the third Nuart Aberdeen – leaving splashes of colour on the iconic granite walls.

Portuguese artist Vhils, real name Alexandre Farto, has carved his piece Unearth in a wall overlooking a city centre car park.

Unearth marks the links between Aberdeen and the Spanish civil war.

It depicts the first Aberdonian to go and join the International Brigades, along with an American brigadier and two Spanish children.

“I wanted to make this old picture almost develop itself on an old wall in Aberdeen, allowing the past to resurface – reminding us that we should keep it in mind as it can tell us so much about the future,” Mr Farto said.

Berlin artist Jan Vormann has used Lego bricks donated by the city’s residents to repair a damaged wall.

“We put out a call on social media and in the shopping centres all over Aberdeen they put boxes for people to donate bricks,” he said.

“We asked for certain bricks that were compatible. We received 10-15kg. I was so impressed – it was really generous.”

Mr Vormann said the city’s granite posed a technical challenge to work with but was “beautiful”.

UK-based Hush’s piece – two women in his signature style – look out from a wall of Aberdeen’s John Lewis store.

Nuart Aberdeen is spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired and the city council.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “On a dreary day in the north east of Scotland, granite can be depressing to some.

“The contrast when you bring something like Nuart to a city like Aberdeen is fantastic – it’s a real cultural transformation.”

Councillor Jenny Laing, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said the festival “transcended generations”.

“I’m hoping to be a Graffiti Granny in the future,” she added.

Nuart Aberdeen, which has a theme of story-telling this year, will run in the city until Sunday.



From Belfast Telegraph