Urban Painting Around the World (UPAW) returns for the 5th edition at the Esplanade des Pêcheurs: on Tuesday 6th, Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th July 2021 within health precautions. UPAW, following the previous cliché, brought international Street Art artists to the Principality of Monaco, to benefit the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (FPA2).
The 2021 edition was featuring eleven artists, from seven different countries. Nadib-Bandi (France), Cacao Rocks (Greece), Chicadania (Colombia), Michael Bereens (France), Manomatic (Spain), Misterpiro (Spain), Andrea Ravo Mattoni (Italy), Pez José Sabaté (Spain), Jacques Schneider (Luxembourg), Mr. OneTeas (Monaco), Tones (Switzerland). As for the past editions, the event presented a theme for the protection of the environment; this year it was “The Planet and its Colours.” After deducting the expenses, the net proceeds will be donated to the FPA2 of Monaco for financing a specific project.
In fact, since 2011, FPA2 has been involved in the monk seals preservation with Mediterranean projects and in 2019, they set up the Monk Sea Alliance (MSA) bringing together 5 donors organizations (FPA2, MAVA Foundation, Segré Foundation, Sancta Devota Foundation, Thalassa Foundation) with a great experience in financing projects pro the monk seals, a species critically endangered.
Urban Panting Around the World was conceived and organized in 2016 by Alberto Colman who had the idea to bring Street Art to Monaco to demonstrate the sensitivity of street artists for the environment, another way to bring the general public closer to the protection issues. In our meeting with HelloMonaco, Alberto Colman explains: “There are some new features at UPAW this year, enriched by some side events”.
On Wednesday, July 7th at 4pm, took place a zoom video call with Nathalie Meplon Varley, director of the Abobo Museum of Contemporary Art in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where an exhibition of Street Art with the best African artists was being held at the same time as in Monaco. Also on Wednesday, July 7th at 6pm, a roundtable discussion was being held: “NFT on StreetArt“, moderated by the art advisor Karolina Blasiak to point out the “Non-Fungible Token” (NFT) used also for the art transactions instead of traditional money and to identify the piece of art.
On Thursday, July 8th at 5pm, Cyril Gouyette, art historian, presented his book on “Street Art”, titled “Under the StreetArt, the Louvre: When classical art inspires urban art“.
The highlight event to conclude this successful initiative was the unmistakable visit of the Sovereign Prince to congratulate the artists followed by the usual auction sale of the beautiful masterpieces.
Herewith some feedbacks exclusively for HelloMonaco by Alberto Colman (A.C.) and some artists.
HelloMonaco: UPAW confirms a unique event that combines artistic creativity of the Street Art to the environmental cause, thus creating a combination of unsurpassed success, what spirit animates you in this new edition?
A.C.: Also last year, despite the severe restrictions due to health emergency, we managed to successfully organize the event albeit in a reduced form with the participation of only six artists.
This year 2021 we started from the same premises, thinking we had the same number of artists.
But UPAW arouses great attention and in fact more than twenty international participation requests came to us. The environmental cause of protection of the ecosystem and fight against pollution is a driving factor which meets the sensitivity of the artists of the Street Art.
HelloMonaco: This year’s theme is “The Planet and its colours”, where does this idea come from?
A.C.: In each edition, we try to choose a theme that could allow all artistic disciplines to express themselves. This year’s choice is a bit of the keystone. The colours express all the shades of the Planet, metaphor of the Natural World of Ecology: everything is meant to give an effective visual impact. It was like winking at all the possibilities.
HelloMonaco: How is the bond with Prince Albert II Foundation born?
A.C.: We have been always honoured by the presence of the Sovereign Prince at the Closing Ceremony that precedes the auction sale of the works that had been made live in the previous two days. The net benefit of the sales, supported by some sponsors, will help a project that is particularly close to the Foundation’s heart.
Mr. OneTeas (M.O.T.) – Principality of Monaco – self-taught, he opened up to painting through graffiti. He develops his apprenticeship with travels, encounters and exchanges leaving its mark in the streets of the main international towns. He has become a true ambassador of recycling by giving life to obsolete materials and objects.
HelloMonaco: Mr. O.T, you are one of the most affectionate artist of Monaco UPAW, what motivations drive you to this annual artistic meeting?
M.O.T.: I am very pleased to participate in the fifth edition of UPAW after having been present at all previous ones. After making works of figurative art, this year I decided to create something more abstract, to let the colours do the talking more than animals or other living species. Another reason for my participation is that I am really happy to see there is a selection of high quality artists. I always enjoy meeting artists who come from different horizons and to exchange ideas with them since everybody has their own artistic vision. But the thing that unites all of us is the love for colours and the creation of unique works. All that is a positive therapy for me and my spirit. After the pandemic crisis, I am looking forward to normal life and sharing this precious moment with my colleagues for a long time ahead.
Andrea Ravo Mattoni (A.R.M.) – Italy – his interest in classical art derives from his family tradition and from his academic studies that brought to a 2016 project meant to “re-establish classicism in the contemporary world”. The utopia that is envisaged is that of a large picture gallery in the open air, with masterpieces that so far have been enclosed inside the most important museums in the world.
HelloMonaco: Where does your Street Art ‘classic choice’ come from?
A.R.M.: I work on the “translation of classical art” with spray cans and I bring my art all over the world. I don’t like to call them copies because I don’t use the same technique and the same size. My training stems from the graffiti that I started doing in 1990. Later on I put together my academic knowledge (Fine Arts, Brera in Milan) and the technique from the Street Art. In all my pieces of art I always try to find some correlations with the territory. When I go to a big or small town, I do my best to enhance the artistic and cultural heritage making it known to as many people as possible.
HelloMonaco: What are you going to represent here in Monaco?
A.R.M.: I feel enthusiastic to be for the first time in the Principality and be able to support, with my small modest contribution, the Foundation’s cause hoping that my little drop in the sea can be important. I decided then to “translate” a detail from a painting by the Neapolitan Rococo painter Corrado Giaquinto (1700), well-known also in Madrid at that time. It is a portrait of Bacchus in a riot of colours. The sketch trace is orchestrated by a cadriage (squaring) followed by spray colours with my unusual and unique technique which creates the illusion of the oil painting as if seen as a whole, from afar. Nature myth is respected by the Greco-Roman Wine God and other figures feasting the autumn grape harvest in the context of a more respectful age. Therefore, it is better to get inspiration from the masterpieces of the past and their natural rhythms and see that human being who was not contaminated yet by an overabundance of uselessness material goods … such as the disproportionate use of plastic.
Jacques Schneider (J.S.) – Luxembourg – an artist committed in favour of human values; convinced that living together, building a common future, establishing social relationships and starting over without stopping is our destiny.
HelloMonaco: Mr Schneider could you describe your piece of art?
J.S.: I have been working on the theme of water for some years since this element is of fundamental importance for our planet. The idea is to show the public three different Luxembourg landscapes that are very familiar to me. The message I want to convey is that if each of us makes an effort in the place where we live, wherever we are in the world, respecting nature and water resources, the environment around us will improve.
HelloMonaco: What binds the Street Art to environmental issues?
J.S.: My idea is to mix inspirations inside and outside my atelier to seek increasingly organic materials as ‘clean’ as possible, as for example the organic cotton canvas I use. For the colours, they have not reached the desired ecological standards yet but more and more choices can be made that bring values to artistic creation. Even though things evolve slowly, you can always contribute to their evolution. The works that are exhibited in the street are visible to the general public, and therefore artists have the task of making the things they believe in more visible and elicit questions in those who are watching them. So, I am very proud to be part of this festival I consider a positive moment.
Manomatic (M.) – Spain – a plastic artist linked to the world of graffiti and urban art, he combines the works on the walls with those made in his atelier. Since 2010 he has owned an open air Urban Art Museum in the centre of the historical city of Huelva.
HelloMonaco: Manomatic, could you to tell us something about your new creation?
M.: The work I am making is part of the “Identity” collection that wants to communicate the symbols of the region where I live in South East Spain where a series of prehistoric dolmen can be seen with a handwriting that I have always inserted in my works since when I started to create graffiti. By mixing these elements, today I want to give identity to the primary colours such as red, black and white, plus light blue and yellow to complete the portrait. Thus, making people reflect on the identity of the place they are living and rediscover the most authentic part of each social group. Rediscovering everything that allows us to understand better who we are and where we come from in front of the great cultural power that is invading the whole world. Only in this way we will be able to interact better with each other and evolve towards an idea of the Planet more constructive and positive for all the inhabitants of the Earth.
HelloMonaco: Which are the most important, recurrent elements in your works?
M.: In addition to human figures and ancestral symbols, I always depict children who represent the community’s future and they have no fault of the world they will inherit. This fits perfectly into the theme of this festival that deals with both the ecological aspect and the need to take care of our Planet.
UPAW 2021 and its artists is truly a forge of good ideas and resolutions through Street Art with a purpose.