James Finucane: Wishes & Hopes for 2017


As we near the new year we’ve asked a special guest every day to take a moment to reflect on 2016 and to tell us about one photograph that best captures the year for him or her. It’s an assortment of treats for you to enjoy and contemplate as we all reflect on the year that has passed and conjure our hopes and wishes for the new year to come. It’s our way of sharing the sweetness of the season and of saying ‘Thank You’ for inspiring us throughout the year.

Nuart Festival general manager (Daglig Leder) and the winning right-hand man of the cheerful troublemaker and visionary Martyn Reed, James Finucane has often firmly taken the reins on this Norwegian Urban Art festival to bring forward a remarkable cultural event for the last two years. The Stourbridge native was previously at London’s Serpentine Galleries as a researcher but his scope is vastly wider now and if you see the steel-nerved and unflappable James seeming to glide easily through the cloud of artists, volunteers, and installations in Stavanger, its because he has the patience of a saint – and a sharp eye. Today he shares with us a piece by an artist best known for his painting, prints, drawings, and animated films.

Triumph & Laments
Artist: William Kentridge
Location: Rome, Italy
Date: October 2016
Photograph by Giulia Carpignol

This project by South African artist William Kentridge was his first public art commission at the age of 61 and a project that took 12 years from concept to completion. Whilst it was inspiring to see the work of one of the world’s foremost painters on this scale, for me, it also represented a clarion call to Street Art organizers and advocates the world over.

If public space is the last frontier of Contemporary Art what does this mean for the Street Art movement? In particular, how do we retain the activist, bottom-up and community-based spirit of Street Art and its associated movements and continue to challenge the contemporary art establishment as they begin to flex their institutional muscles in public space ever more frequently?

Disrupting the hermetically sealed art world is at the core of Street Art and ever more important in an era of unprecedented public interest in visual culture.

An exciting thought for 2017!