The Oslo #AddingColorToLives mural is complete!

Park Inn by Radisson®, in conjunction with a number of locally-based Youth groups, and renowned muralist, street artist and educator, Joel Bergner, are pleased to announce the start of Adding Color to Lives 2016.

Adding Color to Lives is a coordinated social action art project, bringing together young people from the local communities, to design and create a collection of huge public murals. Throughout September, Joel will lead workshops with youth and communities, working together to explore social issues that are important to them, culminating in the design and painting of large scale public murals. Adding Color to Lives will take place in four locations, starting in Oslo, Norway, and continuing onto Tallinn, Krakow, and finishing in Cape Town.

Adding Color to Lives paint

Joel Bergner

Joel Bergner’s street paintings can be spotted across the globe, from the U.S. to Brazil, Cuba, Kenya, Poland, Mexico, Mozambique, El Salvador, Cape Verde and in the Middle East, where he facilitated projects in a Syrians in a refugee camp in Jordan and with Israeli and Palestinian youth in Jerusalem.  Joel’s murals feature his trademark eclectic mix of vibrant colors and intense imagery, exploring social topics and presenting the stories of those who are marginalized by society. He organizes public art initiatives with youth and communities around the world battling a variety of challenging life situations including incarceration, armed conflict, mental and physical disabilities, homelessness and social exclusion.

Joel Berner

Joel Bergner Oslo mural

The Oslo #AddingColorToLives Project

The youth center “Calypso” and “Huset” in Kløfta, Norway (Near Oslo) aim to create exciting, safe and engaging activities for all young people, from 13 – 17 years old in the region. The staff at the youth centers strive to meet the youth on a level of respect and interest. In return, they expect the youth to meet the staff with the same respect, and that they follow the house rules. Calypso offers a fun, safe,  drug-free environment to all young people in Ullensaker Municipality, and are open every day after school. Many local youth visit the two youth centers each day, which can accommodate as many as 200 youth at a time.

Adding Color to Lives Oslo mural planning

Boy painting at the Oslo mural

Adding Color to Lives Oslo mural work in progress

After all, these youth houses are very popular due to the variety of activities they offer. The staff work in collaboration with the youth to develop activities that meet their interests. They have a ping pong table, pool table, Foosball, video game entertainment centers, practice rooms for music and even a cafe. In addition, they organize dance parties, concerts, trips to amusement parks and museums. It is a great place to meet and hang out with some friends.


Each time Joel Bergner starts a creative projects such as this, there is a creative brainstorming session with the youth.  They are encouraged to contribute their ideas and inspiration to create the plan for the Mural. This Mural was no different. During the creative workshop, it became clear that they wanted to show a bit of the history of Kløfta, what is important in this area, and what makes Kløfta a good place to live. The horses became central in the mural, since there is a statue of a horse in Kløfta, The kids really appreciate that symbol, and associate with their hometown. Joel also challenged the youth to think about what was important in their lives, and they had a lot of suggestions like music, friends, social media, activities like football, skiing and sports, pizza and having fun. These influences can be seen in the final work of art.

Adding Color to Lives Oslo mural horse painted

Adding Color to Lives Oslo mural horse

What is the meaning of the boy’s face in the mural?

The youth group and Joel both designed the mural to feature the face of one of the youth. In a way, it really adds personal touch on the mural. How did they select the lucky one to be featured? To answer this question, all of the painters put small notes with their names in a hat, and someone was randomly picked to have his face on the wall! He was very excited and proud.

Adding Color to Lives youth

What is the meaning of some of the other small details in the mural?

A few examples :

Fishes: Some of the youth really love to go fishing, and one of them even travel up north every school vacation to work on a fish boat to earn some pocket money.

Friends: A lot of the drawings are of friends and people, because friends and sharing good experiences is really important to them.

A heart with stitches: One of the youth had a heart surgery when she was younger, which is an important part of her history. She draw the heart in the history part of the mural.

Wildlife: The animal wildlife and the beautiful nature is important in Norway, and the pink shade is dedicated to that.

Troll: Troll are a recurring theme in Norwegian fairytales. Norwegian kids are told this fairytales as their bedtime stories, but also in kinder garden and at school.

Sports: Sports are important for the youth both in their spare time and at school; such as skiing, skateboarding, football and dancing.