A few weeks ago, internationally renowned street artist SMUG travelled to Stavanger in Norway to participate in a very special project curated by Nuart and Attende, a project for a Social Inclusion Through Street Art project that aims to inspire action and change.

The result is a stunning mural depicting the image of Helge, A man who, despite being unable to read, has been continuously employed through Attende for the past 25 years.

Attende is an organisation that 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,” says Marianne Wiig, CEO of Attende. “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.”

“We experience many of the same challenges in a school environment, where everyone must be included, and in relation to the school’s focus on citizenship we are very pleased that the work is painted on one of the walls of the school building,” said Headmaster Finn Lea.

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.

Martyn Reed, Nuart Festival Founder: “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 marginalized.”

About Attende AS

Between 2000 and 5000 people with disabilities in Norway are currently waiting to get a job at a well-organized workplace similar to those offered by companies like Attende.

Attende employs approximately 330 people who would otherwise exist without a meaningful work life. Many of these individuals work in Attende’s large and varied industrial production, which contributes significantly to the region’s economy. Attende’s main shareholders are the Municipality of Stavanger, the Municipality of Sandnes and Rogaland County Municipality.

About the artist

Known for his photorealistic murals, Smug aka Sam Bates, is an Australian graffiti artist of great skill. Using nothing but spray cans, he has built an international reputation for mastering the difficult task of making highly technical pieces on large-scale walls the world over.

Born in a small Australian town about three hours from Sydney, Smug now lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland.

Author: Fran

Founder and editor of Urbanite. Street Art lover who after the finishing her MA thesis on the muralist movement in the 1920-50s, developed a fascination for street art and graffiti that eventually led to collaborations with different art blogs, including the creation of this one.