Scottish pensioners spray city centre wall with graffiti artwork

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The group of 16 senior citizens, from Aberdeen, took to the streets of the Granite City with spray cans.

From left, Pearl Cameron, 68, Hazel Smith, 79, and Martine Shepherd, 65, some of the ‘Graffiti Grannies’ that took part in an over-65s street-art workshop

A group of Scottish pensioners have picked up spray cans for the first time to create a piece of street art.

The 16 senior citizen spent three days in the classroom learning about graffiti as part of the Nuart Aberdeen festival.

After designing their own tags, the pensioners sprayed a mural on a wall in the city centre of the Granite City.

Anne Yule, 73, (left) and Hazel Smith, 79, some of the ‘Graffiti Grannies’ that took part in an over-65s street-art workshop at this year’s Nuart Aberdeen Festival
The pensioners designed their own tags (Jane Barlow/PA)

It is the first time the Lata-65 Young At Art project, which teaches graffiti to older people, has taken place in the UK.

Retired teddy-bear maker Pearl Cameron, 68, was proudly spraying her tag of two hearts on the wall.

“This is probably one of the most exciting things I’ve done,” Mrs Cameron said.


“There’s no age in street art. It breaks down barriers and walls.

“Older people would just love to do things that the young people are doing and this is a wonderful opportunity to do it.”

Pearl Cameron, aged 68, one of the ‘Graffiti Grannies’ that took part in an over-65s street-art workshop at this year’s Nuart Aberdeen Festival
Pearl Cameron says street art helps to break down barriers (Jane Barlow/PA)

Mrs Cameron said the group, most of whom had only met on the first day of the workshop, had been taken through the “whole process” of street art.


They spent days carefully designing at least three stencils, forming their individual graffiti tags.

“My tag is two hearts because I am a heart recipient,” Mrs Cameron said.

“I had a heart transplant 23 years ago. One of the hearts is my new heart, with the other my broken one.”

Maggie Wilcockson, 70, a retired registered nurse and midwife, signed up to the workshop to make new friends.

“There are so many different things that your tag can be,” she said.

“I’ve lived overseas a lot so I’ve represented that through the blue, purple and green colours of spray paint.”

Maggie Wilcockson
Maggie Wilcockson signed up to make new friends (Jane Barlow/PA)

Lata-65, which means Over 65 in Portuguese, was launched by Lara Seixo Rodrigues from Lisbon in 2012.

She has since taught more than 43 classes across the world, creating more than 500 older street artists.

“I started a festival in my home town in 2011 and the people asking the interesting questions were the seniors,” she said.

“We started teaching this and we noticed that people were coming in with low self-esteem but they left smiling, with high self-esteem.

“That made me realise I needed to keep doing this.”

Ms Seixo Rodrigues said many of the students came in with a negative reaction to graffiti tags.

“They don’t need to learn to like tags – we just want them to understand what they see on the street,” she added.

The piece created by the students will join artworks by international street artists in the city.

In total, 13 artists have created piece for the third Nuart Aberdeen – leaving splashes of colour on the iconic granite walls.

Portuguese artist Vhils, real name Alexandre Farto, has marked links between Aberdeen and the Spanish civil war in his piece Unearth.

Jan Vormann, from Berlin, has repaired damaged walls in the Scottish city with Lego bricks donated by local residents.

UK-based Hush’s piece – two women in his signature style – looks out from a wall of the John Lewis store.

Nuart Aberdeen is spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired and the city council and will run until Sunday.

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