Local Vernissage

Saturday, my sister-in-law invited me to join her at a vernissage at Galleri Skåda, which belongs to a cooperative organization called Skådebanan Norrbotten (= Stage Norrbotten). It´s one of her best friends and neighbours, Eeva-Leena Väätäja, who is exhibiting a series of acrylic paintings entitled "Min värld" (= my world).

The gallery is located in a very pretty flat near the church in central Luleå, and the opening was, and had been, very well attended when I got there. The local press has noticed the exhitibion and Swedish television made an interview, where she talks about painting as a form of dance and how she never feels finished, there is always more to do. "One continues until one falls," she says.

Väätäjä is originally from Finland, but has lived in Sweden most of her adult life, as I understand it, and has been industrious in the arts for at least thirty years. This is the third exhibition of hers that I have attended, and I have to say, I can relate to what she is doing more easily now. Her art seems less grounded in private trauma and more about society and ideas about humanity now than what I have seen previously.

I particularly liked one called "Angels of the street" (you can see some of it on the wall behind her in the photo) and one portrait that she made of her friend cooling off in a mountain brook after a long walk on a hot day. I also enjoyed a series of paintings of dancers (see them in the interview), one of which had already been sold by the time I got there!

I have also learned from my sister-in-law, who learned from the artist, what the word vernissage means. It comes from the French word for varnish, which was the last thing the artist did to a painting (and still does, I believe) before he or she hung it at the gallery. Originally then, it was a varnish-party, a kind of artist´s dress rehearsal, to which they invited friends (influential ones preferably, no doubt) and enjoyed a drink and snacks!

The exhibition lasts until September 21, if you are in the neighbourhood.

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