Internationally renowned mural artist Smug, known for his photorealistic murals, joins forces with Nuart and Attende for a Social Inclusion Through Street Art project that will inspire action and positive change.
Attende As, is a job training company in Stavanger, Rogaland and employs approximately 330 people with disabilities in Norway. Many of these individuals work in Attende’s large and varied industrial production, which contributes significantly to the region’s economy.
Smug chose to paint Helge, a gentleman who cannot read and found it difficult to find employment in a regular workplace, but for the past 25 years, he has had steady employment through Attende.
Attende specialises in finding strengths where others see weaknesses, and gave Helge a job that nobody could do better than him, shredding documents containing sensitive information. Overlooking the entrance to Kannik Middle School in Stavanger, Helge stands as a symbol for how everyone has an important role to play in our society.
“We are always implementing new ways to tackle prejudices associated with our employees, It is a misunderstanding that these individuals cannot contribute to value creation in society. This project aims to influence the attitudes that students bring into their adult lives and remind us all that this group can, and should, also be chosen as actors in the workplace.” Marianne Wiig, CEO of Attende.
On Wednesday 18th October, over 1000 people including students, Attende employees and members of the public came together to celebrate the unveiling of the mural by Stavanger Mayor, Christine Sagen Helgø.
“We are honored to be working with Attende and helping in providing a platform to make visible those issues and people that, for one reason or another, often become marginalized from day to day life in the city. We all live a poorer life unless we truly celebrate and learn from the rich multitude of voices, cultures and communities that make up our society. Embracing diversity, increasing access to the arts and stepping out of our safe zones is key to building a fairer, more empathic, resilient and smarter city. Attende and Nuart recognize that Art has work to do beyond the borders of the institution and hope this project acts as inspiration for a positive change in how we perceive and engage with the marginalised.” Martyn Reed, Nuart Festival Founder
This is such a beautiful project by all involved bringing awareness to the streets through art. These projects are vital to raise awareness about living with a disability, and how this should not be a brick wall to employment. Work places, such as Attende, actively employing people with a disability is a powerful combination in supporting a community. Employment also offers a sense of routine and social interaction which can reduce loneliness, anxiety and depression that exclusion and prejudices often brings.
Photo Credit Brian Tallman