Belfast Street Artists Make Their Mark On Colombia
ICONIC Belfast street artists Friz (Marian Noone) and EMIC (Eoin McGinn) recently set off to Cali, Colombia to participate in an international street art festival as part of a 10-day programme facilitated by the British Council.
The Graficalia Street Arts Festival was established last year as a way for the local authorities to minimise youth violence – with the aim of showcasing the role of the arts in peacebuilding.
Friz, who works in both traditional and digital mediums, and EMIC, a member of Vault Artists, produced three pieces of street art around the theme of peace and delivered workshops on the Belfast urban arts scene and its transformation over the last 20 years.
As part of their design brief they were asked to come up with something that reflected ‘non-violence’ with an anti-gun/peace theme.
They were joined by Urban Arts Curator Adam Turkington – who runs Hit the North – the largest street art festival across Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Speaking beforehand he said: “This is the furthest we’ve been with our street art and I think we’re all going in to this with no expectations – I’m personally just looking forward to the experience and will enjoy being in a new culture.”
The artists were invited to Cali following conversations at British Council Northern Ireland’s International Peace and Beyond conference in April, which marked the anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement – with a focus on countries including South Africa, Lebanon, the Western Balkans and Colombia.
Speaking about the project was Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland.
He said, “The British Council has been making connections between Northern Ireland and Colombia over the past three years especially in the arts. Belfast and Cali share many parallels – with both working to address political instability after years of conflict – and through projects such as this we can share best practice and find new ways to overcome some of our biggest hurdles.”