Street art lives on in Arctic township

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PHOTO SERIES: Some might see the northern Norwegian township of Vardø as an Arctic outpost. Last summer, a group of 12 street artists saw Vardø as their canvas and fanned out around the proud but dilapidated town, putting their mark on crumbling facades and abandoned factories. The result lives on, adding color and unusual renewal after years of hard times and migration:

  1. On a clear day, you can see Russia across the Barents Sea from Vardø. It's Northern Norway's oldest city, its most easterly and surprisingly colourful. A group of street artists have added their colour, wit and humour as well.
  2. A fishing boom in the 1960s and '70s ended with a crash in the 1990s and 2000s. Abandoned buildings include this former fish processing factory, now decorated with the results of last year's street art festival called Komafest.
  3. Artists and local officials sought permission from building owners, many of whom were eager to lend a wall to the street art project.
  4. This tribute to graffiti was found on another old factory wall at Vardø's once-bustling harbour.
  5. "For me, all of Vardø was the art," street artist "Pøbel," who served as a curator of sorts for the festival, told local newspaper "Finnmarken." He prefers to remain anonymous, but had plenty of positive contact with Vardø residents during the project.
  6. Local officials saw the street art project as a way to lend new life to rundown buildings in Vardø, which secured township status in 1789.
  7. Vardø offers a stunning mixture of old and new, with all the buildings housing stories of tough lives in a harsh climate.
  8. Other buildings were left alone, in this case to nesting seagulls.

Hover your mouse over the photos to read captions.

TEXT AND ALL PHOTOS:/Nina Berglund

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