Wallspot Post - International art competition will decide on the design of a mural above Ostrava’s Bazaly stadium

International art competition will decide on the design of a mural above Ostrava’s Bazaly stadium

OPEN CALL | 25-03-2022

The City of Ostrava and the Moravian-Silesian Region are announcing an open international art competition to decide on the design of a mural that will adorn a huge wall above the Bazaly football stadium in Ostrava. The retaining wall, which occupies a prominent location overlooking a major road, has a surface area of 1000 square metres.

Deputy Mayor Zuzana Bajgarová gave more details: “Murals are a form of artistic expression that certainly have a place in cities. However, as with any other forms of art, it’s important to ensure that this street art meets high standards of quality and expresses the unique identity of its location. For a long time the City of Ostrava and the Moravian-Silesian Region have been discussing potential improvements to the retaining wall above the Bazaly stadium, and a mural was one of the ideas that emerged from those discussions. The wall is very large, and it occupies a prominent location close to the city centre – so I’m pleased that we reached an agreement with the Region (the owner of the wall) to hold an international art competition which will enable us to choose the best design for the mural.”

The City of Ostrava has been involved with murals and street art for several years. In 2020, a team headed by the curator Alexandra Kroliková worked on a pilot project to create a large mural entitled “Jump” designed by the renowned Polish street artist Mariusz M-City Waras. Buoyed by the success of this project, the City decided to continue organizing and coordinating mural art in Ostrava, and for this purpose it set up a team whose members include representatives of the local cultural scene, the Ostrava360 platform, the Municipal Studio for Urban Planning and Architecture (MAPPA) and the City Authority. The team identifies appropriate locations for murals, makes recommendations on what kind of mural would be suitable there, and draws up instructions for art competitions. These activities will continue in the upcoming years, and the team will also explore options for providing spaces where street artists can create their works legally. Successful mural projects in the city centre include M-City’s “Jump” on Nádražní Street, the “Ostrava Madonna” near the Antonín Dvořák Theatre (the work of the American street artist Nils Westergard), and “Creative Placemaking” in Lower Vítkovice (by the American street artist known as Gaia). A full overview of Ostrava’s murals (including some that no longer exist) can be found on the “Ostrava Sculptures” platform https://ostravskesochy.cz 

The First Deputy Governor of the Moravian-Silesian Region, Jakub Unucka, explained that murals bring several benefits. Besides helping to revitalize neglected spaces, they are also able to reach the widest possible public, encouraging people to think about the messages they express: “Murals are thus an excellent medium enabling the artistic community to communicate with the general public – especially when they reflect something of the history of their location or respond to present-day issues and needs. Such a mural becomes much more than a decorative work of art – it brings its own added value. I’m delighted that we’ve agreed with Ostrava on how to transform the grey concrete wall above the Bazaly stadium into a canvas for the world’s most creative street artists.”

The competition, which opens on 15 March, will offer artists from anywhere in the world the opportunity to design a work that will breathe life into the Bazaly wall. The instructions for the competition emphasize that the design should reflect the dramatic and substantial transformation experienced by Ostrava and the Moravian-Silesian Region in recent years. It should also respond to the specific features (whether historical, social or sporting) of the city/region as such – including an appropriate commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Baník Ostrava sports club, which is inextricably associated with the Bazaly site.

The Bazaly mural project represents a unique venture: it is the first time ever that the City of Ostrava and the Moravian-Silesian Region have announced an art competition to create a mural design. The parties agreed that the City would plan and coordinate the competition (using funds from its own budget) in collaboration with leading figures on Ostrava’s art scene, who have helped to define the terms and conditions for the competition. The Moravian-Silesian Region will then work with the competition winner on the implementation of the winning design; this phase (scheduled for the late summer of this year) will be funded by the Region.

The competition jury will include representatives of the City and the Region, as well as three prominent cultural figures: Alexandra Kroliková (who has curated numerous mural projects in the Czech Republic and abroad), Daniela Rywiková (Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ostrava), and Jiří Surůvka (an internationally renowned Czech artist and performer).

Details of the competition terms and conditions (including supplementary information) can be found at the website https://streetart.ostrava.cz/en/526-2/. Interested parties can also request further information by writing to the e-mail address streetart@ostrava.cz The deadline for submitting entries is 10 May 2022.