SNIK Presents "Exhale" On the Remote Norwegian Island Utsira and City of Stavanger
Earlier this month, SNIK announced their project EXHALE, a multi-site mural project spanning the remote Norwegian island Utsira and mainland city Stavanger. As the duo noted, "EXHALE explores our connection to nature, a notion Utsiran locals are well accustomed to – the small community lives in respectful harmony within the surrounding scenery’s cycle of growth, bloom and decay." SNIK’s interest in the natural world and its timeless encroachment into our lives found poignancy in that intertwinement.
With a population of only 200, the island has previously played host to the works of numerous contemporary artists (Icy & Sot, Issac Cordal, Pichiavo, Borondo), and acted as a particularly fitting location for the first half of SNIK’s ten-day, four-mural trip. SNIK were delighted to be invited by UtsirArt to join this impressive roster of artists, which has been ever growing for the past ten years.
Three murals were painted across the island to explore and amplify those associations – Pathways, Afterthought and Exhale – each chronicling the natural world overrunning and overwhelming calmly accepting subjects, the inevitability of floral abundance reclaiming the scene.
Pathways, painted onto a storage silo on the island, acts as a reminder that even as we build routes to grow and travel, nature is always a part of that process, and our close connection is forever vital to that growth. Afterthought found a home on a now-unused WWII bunker, a discarded, unnecessary building given back up to nature to be reclaimed. This piece is a reminder that often the effects of our actions on the natural world come as an afterthought.
Exhale, painted on a harbour wall, reflects on a moment of calm within a busy world, a thoughtful soul taking the time to explore and embrace communion with nature. Each intricate, powerfully visual piece was designed with the environment and natural surroundings in mind – SNIK used deliberately-muted colour palettes to preserve and respect the peaceful partnership between the island and those who choose to call it home.
A final piece, Overcome, was painted in Stavanger, a Norwegian city no stranger to contemporary art and previously hosting two of SNIK’s works. In this piece, created on a building sited in parkland, the steady creep of overgrowth has followed the duo from the island and back to the city, a striking reminder of nature’s inescapable reclamation.
The project was documented, and a short film created, by filmmaker and Radio Juxtapoz's Doug Gillen, longtime collaborator and friend of SNIK, capturing the essence and vitality of the murals alongside the island’s unique natural beauty.