Dukley Street Art

Dukley Art Center Kotor is a perfect example of how art in its various forms can take over the abandoned buildings and change the atmosphere, environment and even day-to-day life of the place.

Taking a tour through this place now one can hardly believe that less than a year ago there was literally nothing reminding of art — both inside and outside of the building. 

Developers owning the place were going to build a fancy hotel in a couple of years. But the artists invited by wellknown art curator Marat Guelman took over the place and brought it back to life. So for now the investors decided to build the hotel nearby the Art Center, keeping the modernist building as it is — full of art studios inside and covered with street art on the outside. 

Part of Dukley Art Community residence program curated by Mr. Guelman was street art project. Street art curator from Moscow Michael Oger, CEO and founder of Hip Hop Academy Moscow, was invited as one of the first residents. The ambition was to change the mood in Jugooceanja building by the means of street art. The first project was a huge font «ART inside» designed by famous Russian font designer Yuri Gordon and produced by two Montenegrin graffiti writers from Kontrabanda Crew — actually the only active graffiti crew in the country. The piece was drawn with rollers and wall paint since there was no high quality graffiti spray paint in Montenegro at all and the order for a stack of Montana Cans paint from Germany was only getting ready to be placed and delivered. 

Later on, Michael Oger invited three leading Moscow artists — Anatoliy Akue, Petro Aesthetics and Misha Most — for a monthly residence each during the summer of 2015. 

The first artist to come was Akue. The artist got very inspired by the land and city scape of Kotor and the surrounding mountains and came up with an idea/concept of «Too Many Guidelines» which appeared to be too many light towers that he drew on the garage complex in the front yard of Jugooceanja. He drew it in the mixed technics — both with rollers/brushes and spray paint. The result overcame the expectations so the upcoming sketch for the big mural on the side wall of the building was approved by Mr. Guelman straight away. Within another week a huge light tower was created and made the Art Center visible not only from the sea but from the tourist route to old fortress above Kotor. With this mural Akue put the final huge dot in his concept of «Too Many Guidelines».

His final touch was a classic graffiti piece he created in the backyard of Jugooceanja during the Kotor Art opening after-party which was hosted by the Dukley Art Community resident team.

The next artist to come was Petro from Aesthetics crew. He started from a dialogue with a mountain above Old Kotor and created a small piece on the electricity building in the backyard of Jugooceanja. Pedro made a piece with his name continuing the geometry and angles of the stairway to the old fortress on the mount — best to be viewed in the dark when the stairway is illuminated in yellow.

His second piece was an abstract lady in the nude located on the wall of Jugooceanja in the backyard. This lady seems to be taking a sun bath while waiting for her captain to take her on board.

The third piece created by Petro was another classic graffiti name on the stairway inside Jugooceanja — needless to mention is how the artist feels the architecture and the geometry of space.

While Petro moved on to Niksic to conquer the decaying concrete of Dom Revolucije, the third street artist Misha Most arrived. His inspiration was the stairway inside Jugooceanja where he created two masterpieces — on the first and second floor. The first work is from his futuristic series about the f future of mankind with some body parts and encrypted formulas with hidden messages — graffuturism at its best as the artist himself calls it. With his second work Misha went deeper into the history of Jugooceanja. Digging in the archive photos and letters found in one of the rooms he came across the poem — ode to the brave sea sailors of Yugoslavia — sent to a local newspaper by one the local poets. This song became the background for the stories found on the old photos of how the ships where built and how the sea was conquered by brave Yugoslavian politicians — the artist brought back to life the spirits of Jugooceanja.

Later on few street artists joined the movement. Linnch, famous local street artist from Herzog Novi, now based in Belgrade, Serbia, made two pieces on the stairway. He created a story about a captain and his sinking ship. Linch spread the word around his friends from HN so two more street artists joined the movement — beautiful Diana Ejaita from Berlin drew her mind-blowing mask. She also produces t-shirts with her prints — soon to be sold in local art-shop on the ground floor of Jugooceanja.  And another local artist who came over with Linnch was his girlfriend La Sanja, also from Herzog Novi, with her Cyclops femme fatale in the nude, greeting those who make it to the third floor of the art centre.

The final touch to the stairway was made by two young artists from Domodedovo, Moscow region. Friends were travelling through Montenegro, stopped by to check the graffiti workshop organized by Michael Oger in Budvan Bibo Bar, showed their sketches and were invited straight away to take part in creating the street art stairway gallery in Jugooceanja. Burok created a giant and very dangerous looking fish in special technic using chrome and mastika spray cans. While his friend Tro made a classic 3d letter O with some acid drips bursting out of it right under the roof of the building.

To conclude the story it can be said that for now Jugooceanja both on the inside and on the outside of the building can officially be titled the street art centre of Montenegro. Not even the centre, but the epicentre. More artists to come, more walls to be painted. Come check it yourself. 

And another important thing to be mentioned — the series of street art souvenirs is being developed by the team and soon is to be presented on the shelves of the gift shops all over the Adriatic coast.