Nans with cans – street art OAPs go viral after transforming ‘dreary’ tunnel

Street art pensioners – coined ‘nans with cans’ – have gone viral after helping to transform a dreary and ‘unsafe’ Solihull underpass. The overnight social media stars were filmed spray painting a drab tunnel at Hillfield Park for Armed Forces Day earlier this summer.

The care home residents, one aged 99, joined school children and veterans as part of a community art project to create the colourful ‘Poppy Path’. An Instagram video of the OAPs, shared recently, showed them spray painting over poppy stencils on the tunnel’s wall.

The clip – viewed nearly a million times – was uploaded by talented brothers Alexander and Kiran of ‘Art From A&K’. The pair, who led the project, specialise in creating community murals and have made headlines around the country for their eye-catching scribbles.

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Alexander told BirminghamLive he was “amazed” by the meteoric rise of their nans with cans video. He said: “We put out a lot of content but it has been surprising to see it go so viral.

“We always get lots of support and good reactions but we haven’t had anything quite like this. Our notifications are popping off constantly.”

A video of ‘nans with cans’ spray painting a dreary tunnel in Solihull has gone viral

Asked if the OAPs know they were internet-famous, Alexander added: “I don’t think so, not yet, however it was great to get them out of their care home for the day as they don’t get out much. One of the ladies is 99 and turning 100 in April, so we’re going to go back to the home and celebrate her birthday then.”

The tunnel was transformed with the help of pensioners, veterans and school children

He said the aim of the project was to transform a “negative” and “dreary” tunnel, which felt “unsafe” to many in the area, into a colourful pathway that people could enjoy. The work was funded by Solihull Council’s environmental partner, Veolia, and the idea to transform the tunnel was supported by a range of organisations at the borough’s 2023 Graffiti Summit.

Coun Karen Grinsell, deputy leader of Solihull Council, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this amazing project – the Royal British Legion, local veterans, Monkspath schoolchildren, our artists from A&K, plus staff from Veolia. Working together, we have turned an unpleasant tunnel into a welcoming and vibrant space which reminds people where the Armed Forces Community Garden is and delivers a powerful message.”

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