Category Archives: France

Lek and Sowat Sandcastle for the LaBel Valette Festival

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Marking the fifth anniversary of the LaBel Valette Festival in France, artists Lek and Sowat have given a new identity to this 19th century castle, by painting all its surfaces and transforming it into a monumental sandcastle.

Located in Pressigny-les-Pins, around one hour from Paris by train, Château de la Valette sits on just under 100 acres of wooded land and is comprised of the castle, a chapel, and two three-storey dormitory buildings. After the colourful works of Okuda (2018), 3ttman (2019), the giant calligraphy of L’Atlas (2020) and the optical illusions of Astro (2021), this mythical duo open the LaBel Valette festival that will take place on August 26 and 27, 2022.

The LaBel Valette Festival, organised by UAC (Urban Art Crew) and U2A (Urban Art Agency), will take place on August 26 and 27, 2022 at La Valette estate in Pressigny-les-Pins.
The two days programme includes graffiti battles, a musical production competition, live painting, workshops as well as a series of music concerts. Full programme here

Check pictures of the work in progress below:

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek and Sowat were struck by the intense history of the ‘Domaine de La Valette’. Firstly belonging to the estate of a Count and a Countess, it then became property of Franco, followed by the Spanish republicans. It was later transformed into a college, then fell into abandonment. And was bought by an individual. The castle holds eventually a strong position of Street Art in France thanks to the LaBel Valette Festival project.

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

The artistic duo decided to work around the image of the sandcastle, which refers to the ephemeral nature of Street Art, and pixels, which evoke the aesthetics of the 80s.
Using bright blue and neon colours, they painted 10 000 square meters to transform the castle entirely.
Lek and Sowat ’s Sandcastle illustrates this year’s theme of the festival “Believe in your dreams”: A sandcastle can be erased by the rising tide but is rebuilt thanks to the venue of a new artist.  A sandcastle is fragile, requires attention and commitment. It is imagined, hoped for, then built.

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

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Hisham Echafaki – Mirabilia Naturae at Musee Jean Larcena

Hisham Echafaki

The Museum Jean Larcena, in Val d’Ocre, Burgundy, France, is pleased to open an exhibition of works by London based artist Hisham Echafaki entitled Mirabilia Naturae ( Wonders of Nature), curated by Butterfly Art News. The exhibition runs until 19 June 2022.

Hisham Echafaki
Hisham Echafaki

Hisham Echafaki is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist who has been exhibiting internationally for over fifteen years. The artist’s style is a mix between realism and surrealism and sometimes uses the trompe-l’oeil technique.

In 2013, for the David Bowie exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Hisham Echafaki produced an anthropomorphic portrait of the singer composed entirely of 66 animals with a surprising trompe-l’oeil effect to celebrate the 66th Birthday of the singer.

Hisham Echafaki

In 2019 Hisham Echafaki was invited by the Musée de la Poste in Paris to illustrate the facade with a 13-meter fresco retracing the history of mailboxes and artistic movements.

The artist will well appreciated with the local residents of Val d’Ocre as in 2018 he painted a giant fresco featuring an Iberian tortoise to warn about this endangered species. The mural has been the mascot of Val d’Ocre since.

MIRABILIA NATURAE – Wonders of Nature

From the end of the XVII th Century, explorers illustrated their discoveries of new animal and plant species and named them in Latin.

With the exhibition ‘Mirabilia Naturae’, Hisham Echafaki pays tribute to these ancient explorers who show us the wonders of nature, and transports us to a universe where the beauty and diversity of fauna and flora are celebrated in all their patterns and colours.

The series on display includes works on canvas, works on paper and multi-dimensional paintings on resin or plexiglass.

Hisham Echafaki

Beyond aesthetic imagery and the celebration of the beauty of nature, the themes of the exhibition  highlight issues of biodiversity, the conservation of threatened species and habitats, and the impact of Man on the evolutionary changes of animal species.

Hisham Echafaki

In parallel with his paintings, Hisham Echafaki has also created a particular and very meticulous technique of painting on resin and plexiglass whose rendering is three-dimensional. His almost realistic animal works are based on multiple superimposed and meticulous layers of paint, resin, creating an effect of perspective.

Hisham Echafaki
Hisham Echafaki

This series of multi-dimensional works attempts to capture the beautiful complexity and diversity of the animal world. Detailed pieces can take up to 15-30 layers and several months to complete.

Whether based on real or imaginary specimens, butterflies, fishes or bees are immortalized giving the optical illusion that they could have been living creatures. Presented as “faux taxidermy”, animals often have anthropomorphic features on their wings or bodies with recognizable patterns from art, design, science while others, such as aquatic creatures, are just more realistic.

Hisham Echafaki would like to thank all the people that helped him on this exhibition: local residents of Val d’Ocre, the core team of the Museum with Francoise Richez, Patrice Lagrange, Sylvie Marchand, Bernard Curnier, and also Bassim, David Chaumet and Butterfly who worked on the preparation of the exhibition.

Here are some pictures from the set up and the opening:

Hisham Echafaki
Hisham Echafaki
Hisham Echafaki

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