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Europe's largest sticker exhibition to open on Tartu city bus

Tartu is set to host the largest sticker exhibition in Europe.
Tartu is set to host the largest sticker exhibition in Europe. Source: Michael Cole

Tartu will soon see the opening of Europe's largest ever sticker exhibition, bringing together 25,000 works by sticker artists from all over the world. To experience the exhibition, however, people need to jump on one of the city's public buses.

Tartu's city buses are generally all the same color – red and white. However, in a garage somewhere in the city, one bus in particular is being made very special, reports ETV show "Aktuaalne kaamera."

As part of Tartu's year as European capital culture, the city will host Europe's largest ever sticker exhibition. What makes it even more unique is that all the stickers are stuck on one of the city's buses.

One of the main organizers of the sticker exhibition Kersti Joala, said that the stickers used to decorate the bus have been sent to Tartu from around 30 different countries all over the world.

"We've had people from South America, Mexico, Japan. From all over the world. We already have a community of artists on Instagram. Over the years, we've built up awareness about our project and everyone wants to send us their stickers to see them on the bus afterwards," Joala said.

Half the bus was already covered with stickers in the summer. Now, with the help of volunteers, the other half of the vehicle and even parts of the interior will be stickered too.

Sirla, the main organizer of the Tartu street art festival Stencibility, said that the stickers will be applied by some of the same volunteers who have also helped out during Stencibility.

Tartu is set to host the largest sticker exhibition in Europe. Source: Michael Cole

"The word 'sticker therapy' has even been used. These are people who really like to stick stickers. I've approached the bus as an exhibition space, so it still offers an exhibition experience. From the outside it looks like something that has been well authored, but then if you look closely, each sticker has its own message, its own visuals and its own printing technique. Once you go inside the bus, you have more time to look at them one by one," Sirla said.

In total, more than 25,000 stickers have sent to the organizers of the exhibition.

"It remains to be seen whether they will all fit on the bus. The design process starts when we are designing the actual stickers, when we divide them up into what we will put on the bus and what we won't put on the bus. What goes on the bottom layer and what goes on the top layer. It's one thing for me to look at it, but each person who comes here to stick also has their own style of how to arrange these stickers. It's a big collaboration between a number of people, and so perhaps a little element of chaos adds a bit to the overall picture," Joala added.

Next week, once the entire bus has been covered with stickers, it will resume work on its regular route (Bus line 25), from Tartu Train Station to the Estonian National Museum (ERM). The bus is set to continue showing off its sticker exhibition until the end of 2024, after which the organizers will restore it to its original appearance.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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