Artist: aghili/karlsson Tags: City development Permanent art Permanent konst Stadsutveckling Ort:

A stage, a meeting place and a re-writing of history. With Şaneşîn, Nasim Aghili, Björn Karlsson and the Council of United Creoles have transformed Hässelby into a place that reflects the unmournable.

A society is a weave of innumerable stories but history is often written as only one. Not seeing and hearing the full story can mean mortal danger for people who are not seen and heard, as well as a major loss for the majority culture that owns the dominant narrative.

When artists Nasim Aghili and Björn Karlsson, in collaboration with the Council of United Creoles, initiated their work in Hässelby the central question was which bodies are permitted to make their mark in the urban space. Which experiences are allowed to be seen?

Often working performatively and exploratively, the duo has described their art as a quest for alternative reality practices that “create a logic that differs from the predominant neoliberal, individualistic, heterosexual and colonial one that we regard as natural and inevitable”.

The Stockholm suburbs Hässelby and Vällingby feature much public art that reflects an idea of a 1950s populated by a relatively homogenous working class. The amphitheatre Şaneşîn provides our contemporary age with a representation. Şaneşîn reflects the Creole experience, which encompasses migration, multilingualism and an anti-racist struggle.

The circle of stones, the brick-built benches, and the mulberry bushes evoke a majestic expression. Mounted on a text-clad pole supporting a solar cell, a loudspeaker emits the sound of Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise. Şaneşîn is a stage where mournability and resistance are displayed as everyday actions.

Part of Art is Happening

Art is Happening was a government initiative that ran for three years, 2016–2018, and produced public art with a focus on the Million Programme housing areas, as part of the framework of the government commission Taking Place. Public Art Agency Sweden’s brief was to produce examples of what public art can be, develop methods for citizen participation and disseminate knowledge on the result of the initiative.