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Roots – Street Art Festival looks to celebrate the growth of street and urban arts

Roots – Street Art Festival looks to celebrate the growth of street and urban arts

UV Arts, a local not-for-profit creative social enterprise and the team behind the Derry Girls, Factory Girls and Dalai Lama murals, announces the return of a street art and contemporary mural festival to Derry City, renamed and rebranded as Roots Street Art. The festival’s return coincides with the launch of a brand new urban arts gallery this September.

Taking place between Thursday 2nd September – Sunday 5th September. UV Arts are celebrating the City’s deep rooted Irish connections from around the world. Roots – Street Art Festival, will welcome seven new pieces of street art across the city, aiming to connect with the seven gates of the beautiful Derry walls and offer a colourful juxtaposition against the City’s historic built heritage.

Explaining the Roots – Street Art Festival 2021 theme, Karl Porter Director at UV Arts said:

“As a nation, Ireland’s diaspora spans continents, with our roots running deep within the creative scene on an international level. The festival will seek to highlight those roots, featuring some of the most famous and most recognised street artists from around the world. All of which descend from Celtic origins, with some even tracing their lineage back to the North West.”

Coinciding with the festival and in partnership with Inner City Trust, UV Arts will also launch the UV Arts Urban Arts Gallery in September, situated within the Garden of Reflection on Bishop Street. The new Gallery will host a series of Urban Art exhibitions, classes and be the base for a brand new Street Art podcast with interviews from some of the country’s most well-known artists.

Using creativity and street art, Roots Street Art Festival will aim to help support both the local community and the local economy. Karl explained:

“We have all experienced a pretty tough 18 months but I think we have the opportunity now to work together and bring about a shift in the dynamics of public space. Over the last year, we have been using our city’s outside spaces more and taking advantage of walking routes and greenways within the local area. We’ve noticed large numbers of local and international tourists in the city, so what better way to engage them than by providing a free open air art gallery in the streets of the city. The potential economic impact of our event will help aid the regeneration in a post covid city centre encouraging the public to dander around our beautiful streets while taking in the abundance of creativity and art.”.

This year’s event features some of the most recognised and celebrated artists across the UK and Ireland, including “Inkie”, one of the Godfathers of the UK’s graffiti and street art scene. He lives and works in Bristol, but has strong roots traced back to Ireland and has regularly painted in Northern Ireland.

Celebrated street artist “Mr Cenz” who will be painting a large scale piece in the Dale’s Corner area of the City, is recognised as one of London’s original graffiti artists. Having started tagging as a young teenager in the 80’s, he now paints large scale murals and creates bespoke experiments with augmented reality. He will be tasked with recreating a lovely homage to the Maiden City.

Creating very bespoke and unique artworks inspired by their background in street art, graffiti and traditional sign painting, Glaswegians the Glöbel Bros will paint a huge piece on the gable of Jack’s Bar, Sackville Street in the heart of the city.

And another headliner, Sean Atmos, a Dublin based artist whose family are from Dungiven,  is a multidisciplinary artist, specializing in the areas of large-scale murals, original canvas works and fine art prints. He will undertake a beautiful new piece on Great James Street.

Unfortunately, due to the current Covid restrictions, other international artists are unable to attend due to strict lockdown measures  in Australia and travel restrictions from the USA. These artists will join us in 2022 the festival follow up.

However, with such an impressive array of other local and national artists joining the festival over the weekend, the event promises to add a much needed injection of colour to the city, especially as everything begins to fully open up!

Street Art Tours

UV Arts will be hosting a street art tour this weekend – Sunday 5th September free of charge. This is an excellent opportunity to take a slow walking tour around our beautiful city and get a deeper understanding of our amazing street art murals while watching some of the artists at work.

This will be a brand new tourism offering within the city that celebrates the fantastic artworks and rich mural arts history of Derry City.

Free Street Art Tour – Sunday 5th September – 12 midday – meet at the Derry Girls Mural