From Akureyri, Iceland to Brim in Victoria, Australia to Chernobyl in Ukraine and now Coonalpyn in South Australia, I have seen some wonderful artwork by Guido van Helten. This acclaimed Brisbane based, international street artist has completed some magnificent works around the world!
Although I had first seen his work on a building in Akureyri in northern Iceland in January 2015, I did not know who the artist was back then (I unfortunately didnt even take a photo – it was a cold winters night at the time!). It was not until he helped kick off the Wimmera-Mallee Silo Art Trail with the Brim Silo Art leg of the project, that I really became aware of his work. After just 3 weeks, in oppressive summer heat, he completed this imposing artwork of local farmers in January 2016.
In October 2017 I ventured into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine and was surprised to see a familiar looking signature on a painting of a Chernobyl “Liquidator” that was adorned to a concrete structure within an incomplete nuclear reactor cooling tower. It was the unmistakable the work of Guido van Helten!
The Liquidators were the brave souls who helped contain the nuclear disaster at the nearby Chernobyl Reactor No.4 on April 26th, 1986. This portrait was completed in 2016 to commemorate 30 years since the nuclear disaster occurred – it is a recreation of a dramatic photo taken in 1986 by Soviet photo journalist Igor Kostin. This portrait was an amazing sight in such a bleak place.
Unfortunately I missed seeing the paintings he has done on apartment buildings in Kiev, Ukraine and Minsk, Belarus when I was in those cities in October 2017 but the most recent work of his that I have seen up close is the Coonalpyn Silo Mural project, which features local school children from this small country South Australian town on the Dukes Highway. I will give a more detailed look at this fine addition to the growing silo art projects in south-eastern Australia in my next post but here is a first glimpse. It’s a beauty too!