“What I’d like to achieve is to integrate effectively within a community, share my skills and develop my work in a sustainable way.”
Gurdish Haugsdal, an artist and designer from London, is the founder and creative behind Dish Art in Bergen. When she is not in her studio or involved in projects around town, she is using Impact Hub as her workspace and to find collaborative partners. Gurdish’s strong designs and eye-catching projects are characterised by distinctively dark lines and tones. They have been described as feminine, powerful and seductive. Her large scale paintings and murals can be found in cafes, schools, and window displays around Bergen.
During her Waffle Pitch at Impact Hub Bergen, Gurdish presented her artwork, ambitions, and two projects she has been involved in at places of social impact. These pieces have served as an inspiration to patrons and have even helped to shape the identity of the institutions themselves.
Hyssingen Production School
The Hyssingen Production School is an alternative school where students acquire skills such as cooking, craftsmanship or design through workshops and practical exercises. Gurdish was the creative behind a large mural painting in the school’s student-run cafe and bakery. The café and bakery is a practical exercise run completely by the students, and the art has played a part in forming the café’s identity, adding to the purpose and authenticity of the project for the students.
Salvation Army Bakkegaten
Gurdish also worked on a project with the Bakkegaten Salvation Army in the neighborhood of Sandviken, an organisation that supports those with addiction problems. Because it can be quite “an emotionally heavy place to be,” Gurdish wanted to effect change in the everyday perspectives of the residents through her art. She started by covering the walls with bright colours and painted large botanicals in all four corridors. Dandelions, which are considered a tough flower with a sunny disposition, were painted on the floor of the emergency room.
During this project Gurdish noticed that attitudes at the institution shifted, “you can actually see that the murals have an effect on the moods of the people living and working there, by changing the environment and bringing colour. Residents and employees reported less aggravation and a calmer atmosphere. I feel like I am getting back just as much as I am giving”. She is also collaborating with Salvation Army Bakkegaten by helping them to set up an art room for some of the women that live there. Through daily practice, residents might receive an outlet for the stress and chaos they experience in their everyday.
A Network of Female Entrepreneurs
Moving from London to Norway meant Gurdish was challenged with starting her career over in a new place. Luckily, Bergen was a place that she had already been visiting for fifteen years, so contacts from her frequent visits helped her to establish her business here in the beginning. She emphasised that 90% of her network in Bergen is actually made of women entrepreneurs.
Gurdish’s personal vision for her art is to “integrate effectively within a community, share [her] skills and develop [her] work in a sustainable way.” In 2019, Gurdish hosted workshops for children at the Ocean Festival and Bergen Biblioteket, with her “Dish” project, where she guides the decoration of dishes sourced from vintage shops. She is looking forward to working more with the youth, hosting more workshops and getting the opportunity to paint murals in public spaces, “art comes in many forms and I am adaptable.”
You can find out more about Gurdish Haugsdal on her website or Facebook and Instagram @dish_kunst
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