Art in Gothenburg

By Eva Otterstrom

Sweden is a long and narrow country – from south to north, it´s about 1,500 km (975 miles), although most people live in the south half.

I was born and raised in the town Gothenburg on the southwest coast of Sweden. It is the second largest seaside town in Sweden. My family and I live just south of Gothenburg in a village on the water. In the summer it is a wonderful seaside town, but in winter there is rain and snow, and it is really cold. It is always very windy here and the water is often “upset” both in the summer and winter, which is why this place is known as one of the best places in Sweden for kite surfing year round.

The waves, the wind, and the nature here are good for the soul. I like this weather, as it suits my temperament and has a profound effect on my painting. This is what I think makes my art and the art of Gothenburg unique.

I almost never paint just a landscape, and I seldom paint abstracts; but, I do paint figures. My figures are always moving or look as though they are thinking of moving. It is in my figures that I use the inspiration and energy of the wind and waves.

However, Gothenburg is not just known for its weather; it is also a great cultural center.

Art, design, architecture, and music are plentiful here. We have a large number of different galleries; however, one of the most exciting places is the main art museum called Göteborgs Konstmuseum. The museum even has a special photography section, The Hasselblad Center, and the Hasselblad Prize is regarded as the most prestigious photography prize in the world. There are many organizations in Gothenburg that encourage art. Artscape, a Swedish street art organization, is one major group that supplies art for the people. Their motto is “Great art shouldn’t be confined to only galleries and museums.” As a nonprofit organization, they seek to inspire people and promote public art for everyone. Another organization is the Gothenburg Culture Committee, who lends art to public buildings, like schools and hospitals.

Throughout the year, there is also much to see and do here in Gothenburg. Once a year, there is the Gothenburg Film Festival, an international event for “serious” films. There is also the five-day long Gothenburg Culture Party (Kulturkalaset) and the 24-hour long Kulturnatta, where the whole city is involved with street art, workshops, music, literature, and dance. These are just some of the things that Gothenburg can share with you.

Overall, the art scene in Sweden does not differ very much from the rest of the western world. As in most cases, it is not characterized by one limited style but of an assortment of all types of art crowded and mixed together and is about bringing people together for the sake of art.