Some of the best projects happen when the motivation behind them is the most sincere. In 2013 when the artist duo HERAKUT needed a wall to paint a giant mural for a children’s book project, the Alte Feuerwache Mannheim and Montana Cans supported by GBG and the city of Mannheim, all came together to provide the duo with the required surface, and the cities residents with a free piece of public art. The response was so positive that the demand for artists to paint walls increased year by year. The SWK open-air museum has been providing new street art for the public by local, national, and internationally renowned artists ever since.
first mural for Stadt.Wand.Kunst by Herakut painted in 2013 “my superhero power is forgiveness”
The City that fills its Walls with Art
2022 was yet another example of how good things happen when your heart is in the right place. Bracing the walls of Mannheim this painting season was the Spanish artist ARYZ, the very patient and talented Chinese artist SATR who waited many years for her chance to participate, the well-renowned Swiss graffiti style writer SWEETUNO who turned his back on letters for his SWK mural, the Turkish-born German resident GIZEM WINTER, and the German artist MEINER who returned to the Franklin barracks to leave behind his artwork also titled FRANKLIN.
The standard and diversity of the artworks were as impressive and rewarding as the feelings the artists themselves had upon finishing their murals with all the challenges that surround painting such large works of art. When the sun was not burning their necks, the rain was soaking them to the bone. When the sky was blue then it was the scissor lifts that swayed slowly in the breeze (12 meters above the ground). Each artist approached their own challenges with honor and determination, whether they were transferring their normal digital practice to an oversized analog format on the side of a building, trying to make art that pays homage to letters (without actually using any), or creating something permanent where previously impermanence reigned. And everything in between.
Regardless of the how and why’s, 2022 proved that SWK has well and truly earnt its place in the international mural festival calendar. All while adding masses of value and positivity to the residents of Mannheim, and all the lucky visitors that make their pilgrimage to Monnem to see the artwork for themselves. We look forward to seeing and sharing what SWK 2023 has in store. See previous walls here and here.
Photography by Alexander Krziwanie, Muath Isied; Text by René van Kan