Finnish-Russian street art collaboration
In 2021 an artist residency project started in East Pasila for Russian street artists. The project started in november with three members of the Helsinki Urban Art traveling to Russia and visiting Jekaterinburg, Nizni Novgorod, Perm, Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
The status of street art and the cultural field has weakened in Russia because of its political nature especially during the war of Putin and within poor conditions of freedom of speech and human rights. The purpose of the residency project is to create a web between Russian and Finnish artists and people who are specialized in street art, contribute to employment conditions and possibilities for artists to create networks, activate local communities to experience and make art and make street art more known and appreciated in society as a whole.
The associations original plan of the two-way exchange did not work out because of the start of war in Ukraine in the beginning of 2022. The association changed their plans from the exchange program into a Russian artist residency project. The exchange project also supported people who were against the war and to get them away from Russia by adding to their employment conditions and networks abroad. The residency artists who visited Finland were Antonia Lev, Stepa Aifo, Slava PTRK, Ivan Seri, Evgeni Malyshev, Nikita Nomerz and Rustam QBic.
Stepa Aifo’s ja Antonia Levi’s art ended up also to the walls of kindergarten Ahti in Vuosaari.
In May 2022 artists Antonia Lev and Stepa Aifo came to Finland and painted together a graffiti piece in Pasila, in which two characters are changing into monsters. Antonia Lev told, that the war has affected their art and has made it darker than before: “In the world the attacker or supporter of the war have changed into synonyms for Russian people. When in Russia me and many others working in the cultural field, who are against war actions, have been named traitors or foreign agents.”
The curtains that Stepa Aifo painted are decorating the Espa stage.
Ivan Seri from Your Mom’s Knight collective made a performance that mixed sculptures, painting and photography, in which the character they had designed traveled around Helsinki.
Kaliningrad Evgeni Malyshev painted a piece in Kajaani pumping station, that connects nostalgic pictures of Kajaani and the artists’ home regional sceneries.
Slava PTRK piece “Black water” pictures the state of mind of Russian people who are against the war during the war.
Rustam QBic piece in Jätkäsaari surprises the bypassers because of its location.
Nikita Nomerz painted two street art pieces in Itä-Pasila.