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Street Art & Graffiti From Iran to Oslo

Date: Fri 24 June
Time: 1900-2030
Meeting point: Paulus kirke, Thorvald Meyers gate 31
RSVP: here

Join us for an evening of talks that explore the striking - and perhaps surprising - similarities between graffiti, street art and freedom of expression in Iran and Oslo.

Art historian Helia Darabi spent two years researching street art in Iran, where social, cultural and economic factors have helped shape a fiercely independent underground art scene.

In Oslo, zero-tolerance towards graffiti and the creeping privatisation of public space shares many similarities with public policy in Iran, and has conspired to create an equally strong community of outsider artists.

This event is in English.


Street Art in Iran, Styles and Concerns
Keynote presentation by Dr. Helia Darabi

Over more than three decades, graffiti and street art activity in Iran has evolved into a notable social and artistic movement with multiple creative styles; a wide spectrum of subjects; extensive reach; and highly motivated practitioners who constantly interact with city walls despite considerable restrictions. The remarkable practice of these Iranian artists has not received proportionate international attention and has been scarcely included in the literature in the field. This is a survey of some of the ideas, styles, and concerns of young, mostly marginalised artists, who together keep alive the prospect of an alternative and independent art scene.

Helia Darabi (b. 1974 in Tehran) is an independent historian of Iranian contemporary art based in Tehran. She has been writing essays and critiques on movements and tendencies in Iranian contemporary art, and forwards to artists’ monographs and exhibition catalogs, since 2000. She is a Ph.D. in Art Research from the University of Art, Tehran, where she has been a guest lecturer since 2006. Her teaching programs include critical courses on the themes and approaches in global contemporary art. Her dissertation (Methods and Approaches of Art Criticism: A Survey in Educational Meta-criticism) was focused on teaching methods of art criticism.


Off The Radar, In The City: Graffiti Culture in Oslo
Panel discussion with Dr. Helia Darabi, Marthe Hem, Martin Berdahl & Hanne Ugelstad

Internationally acknowledged for its stylistic and aesthetic diversity, yet existing almost exclusively in the margins of mainstream cultural discourse, this panel discussion will shed light on Oslo’s thriving graffiti scene and the unique conditions which have shaped its development.

Marthe Hem is a Karlstad-based Norwegian innovation leader and art curator. She is the co-founder and artistic leader of Karlstad Street Art (Swe) and Skøyen Street Art Arena (Nor), working with both temporary and permanent art in urban and rural environments.

Martin Berdahl Aamundsen is an author, editor, translator and founder of Kontur Forlag, Norway's leading publisher of books and volumes on graffiti and street art.

Hanne Ugelstad (daglig leder for Street Art Oslo) is a social pedagogue, educator and writer specialised in working with marginalised youth groups and urban subcultures.