Street art festival, Hit the North brought a welcome splash of colour to the city’s streets in September, supported by a new partnership with the world’s leading Cognac brand, Hennessy.
Hit the North street art festival was established by Seedhead Arts and the Community Arts Partnership in 2013 and over the last seven years, it has grown to become one of the biggest street art festivals in Ireland. There were big plans for the 2020 event, which was initially scheduled to take place in May 2020, but had to be put on hold when the Coronavirus pandemic hit.
A scaled back version of the festival hit Belfast’s streets last weekend, turning local buildings into canvasses to showcase the work of local artists, with robust safety and socially distancing measures in place.
Commenting after the event, organiser, Adam Turkington said: ‘We had big plans for this year’s Hit the North, particularly with the support of our new sponsorship partnership with Hennessy. It was disappointing to have to put the breaks on so close to the event, but we re-grouped and worked hard to bring some of the best local talent together to bring some much-needed colour and vibrancy to Belfast’s streets.
‘Art has played an important role in some of the most difficult points in our history and we need art and creative expression more than ever before. We’re grateful for the continued support of Hennessy and we hope to bring the event back to full scale by May 2021.’
This year’s Hit the North festival tied in with the launch of the new Hennessy limited edition bottle, which was released on September 1. Over the past few years, Hennessy has collaborated with ground-breaking artists such as Kaws, Futura, Os Gemeos, Shepard Fairey, Ryan McGuinness, Scott Campbell and JonOne to create limited edition bottles. This year’s limited edition bottle has been created by Liberty Du, who is widely recognised as Faith XLVII, a South African multi-disciplinary artist, and is available from participating retailers now.
Laura Shiels, brand manager for Hennessy said: ‘Hennessy has a long history of partnering with and supporting artists and innovators. In recent years, this has evolved into collaborations with leading urban artists to create a series of limited edition bottles that celebrate the creative spirit of the Hennessy brand. Last year’s bottle was designed by Felipe Pantone and we were very excited to release this year’s limited edition bottle on September 1, which is now on shelves with participating retailers.
‘Locally, we are proud to partner with Hit the North to support and showcase the work of local artists and to celebrate urban culture, street art and music. Hit the North has pioneered a new tradition of positive new murals that celebrate a new Belfast. This seems even more important and poignant in the current climate. We hope the striking pieces of street art created will bring some joy to people in these challenging times – they will live on and be enjoyed now for some time to come.”
Hit the North took place on Sunday, September 20 on the streets surrounding the Sunflower Bar.
Artists involved included: Subset, Aches, Shane O’Driscol, ADW, KVLR, Friz, JMK, Emic, Verz, FGB, Rob Hilken, Leo Boyd, Danni Simpson, Hollie Pereira, Signs of Power, Danleo and Omin, with more to follow.