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The Urban Art Foundation’s International Urban Art Exhibition (IUAE) opens in Turku, Finland on 29 June and runs through until 12 July on the Turku City Theatre’s 50 square metre outdoor digital screen.

The Theatre is near the city centre on the shore of the Aura river. Turku, on the southwest coast of Finland, has a population equivalent to Wellington’s and is regarded as the cultural and culinary capital of the country.

Urban Art Foundation, who are committed to making art accessible on streets and in public gateways, has facilitated this exchange of digitalised paintings and video art between Turku, Finland and Wellington, New Zealand.

The New Zealand artists whose work will be displayed are Karl Maughan, Derek Cowie, Heather Straka, Elizabeth Thompson, Paul Martinson, John Walsh, Liam Barr, Grant Sheehan, John Pule, Graham Fletcher, Sara Hughes, and Dick Frizzell. Finnish artists include Annika Dahlsten, Markku Laakso, Minna Sjöholm, Sirpa Särkijärvi, Erika Adamsson, Heikki Marila, Ulla Jokisalo, Wäinö Aaltonen, Susanna Majuri, Jaana Paulus, Ulla-Maija Kallinen, Kati Immonen, Rosa Liksom, Heli Kurunsaari and Manno Kalliomäki.

This exhibition of New Zealand and Finnish artworks sponsored by Sharp Corporation, oOh!media and the WCC ran from 18 January to 9 February in the NZ Academy of Fine Arts Gallery in Wellington and was screened in 18 shopping malls throughout the country on the oOh!media network of digital screens.

The artwork is currently on view via three Sharp digital display panels in the foyer of Wellington Railway Station, New Zealand.

Andrew Hagen, Urban Art’s founder and creative director said, “This is a world-first for art exhibitions. In Turku, as in Wellington earlier this year, all the artworks being exchanged will be shown. In Finland, people will see the same art that was displayed in New Zealand.

“One hour fifteen minutes of paintings, and 20 minutes of digital video art will be shown in Turku. Each painting will screen for 15 seconds with a total of 240 paintings on show, created by a total of 40 selected artists from Finland and New Zealand.

“For the past two and a half years, the Urban Art Foundation has taken art created by New Zealand artists out of the archives and displayed it in contemporary easily accessible, outdoor digital media sites for people to view as a source of enjoyment and education.

“Our recent ‘In Isolation – Art during the time of Covid-19’ and ‘Extinct Birds of New Zealand’ had over 1.5 million digital showings on 300 oOh!media screens throughout New Zealand.

“The IUAE takes this concept to the next level, showcasing New Zealand art in Finland alongside the best of Finnish artworks and vice versa. This has been made possible with assistance from our Finnish partners: The Museum Centre of Turku the Arts Promotion Centre Finland and Video Art Festival Turku (VAFT). A video explanation appears on this page.

“This is an exciting opportunity for New Zealand artists and we plan to facilitate similar exchanges with other countries in future. Understanding and appreciating other countries’ culture is crucial in a connected interdependent world. We trust that the IUAE should strengthen the relationship between our two countries and prove mutually beneficial in a variety of ways, not just artistically,” Andrew Hagen said.


About the Urban Art Foundation

The Urban Art Foundation (Urban Art) is a not for profit company committed to making art accessible on streets and in public gateways to enrich New Zealander’s experience of their urban environment. It takes art created by New Zealand artists out of archives and displays it in contemporary easily accessible, outdoor digital media sites – street furniture - for people to view as a source of enjoyment and education.

This is achieved through an association with outdoor media company oOh!media who provide electronic billboards on city centres, shopping malls and bus shelters in throughout New Zealand .

Urban Art’s exhibitions appear in shopping malls, gateways and on street signage across the country. Exhibitions screen in Auckland, Taranaki, Hamilton, Christchurch, Bay of Plenty and Wellington where Urban Art have a unique six screen digital gallery on Lambton Quay’s ‘Golden Mile’, the busiest shopping area in New Zealand.

New Zealand continues to be the only country in the world that presents art to the public in this manner on an ongoing basis, with up to three million pedestrians being exposed to the works during the course of an exhibition.

The Turku City Theatre screen downtown Turku, site of the International Urban Art Exchange, 2020 between New Zealand and Finland.


Urban Art Foundation takes New Zealand art to Turku, Finland

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