Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

Facade turned into canvas

Bright murals turn Arctic cities into full-fledged art objects

14 june 2022

14.06.2022 // The polar night is quite an ordeal. The best way to combat the "polar syndrome" is prevention, because preventing this condition is much easier than coping with the harmful consequences. When the sun does not rise over the horizon for months, people are deprived of sensory information. Vibrantly coloured houses are a proven method that helps make life in the Arctic brighter and more comfortable.

In January 2022, the Ministry of Construction of the Russian Federation reported that a unified design code for Arctic cities has been developed. Experts have concluded that northerners desperately need not only practical features like attached entrance vestibules, but also things that create a positive mood: large-scale graffiti and architectural light.

Chukotka was the first region to completely transform its capital. Anadyr was turned into one huge art object all the way back in the early 2000s. The walls of grey Khrushchev houses were painted in bright colours, and giant murals with whales and shamans with tambourines appeared on the buildings' side surfaces. Soon, other northern cities were painted in all the colours of the rainbow. In Arkhangelsk, for example, a decision was made in 2016 to turn all the stone structures along the embankment into an "art gallery", visible from the river side. Now colourful drawings stretch for half a kilometre along the entire Northern Dvina.

Bright murals have also become an additional tourist attraction in the capital of Yamal. The Cultural Defence open graffiti festival has been held in Salekhard since 2012. And by this autumn, 24 new murals will also appear in other towns of Yamal, as the YAM(ural)AL street design festival will be held on the peninsula for the first time.

In Murmansk, mural creation goes back to 2019. As of today, there are already more than 40 murals here. The locals are proud that one of these giant paintings is the largest in the entire Polar Region. This art object is called The History of Murmansk Walls; created in 2021, it is 900 metres long. That's how much space was needed reflect all the major milestones of the rich history of the Kola Peninsula.

From 1 to 20 July, Murmansk will welcome the Growth festival of urban art for the second time. Participants from 9 regions of Russia will paint murals on the facades of 18 houses. They will add to the tourist art itinerary of the Kola Peninsula's capital. Murmansk is even offering street art classes, starting from November 2021.


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