Dotted along the 'ALMA art lane', in the central parts of the Swedish town Uppsala, are artworks inspired by laureates Shaun Tan, Barbro Lindgren, Kitty Crowther, Meg Rosoff and Maurice Sendak. Completed in 2020, the art lane puts art and literature for young readers in the public eye.
The art lane follows Klostergatan through central Uppsala before ending at the Children’s Department of the Uppsala Public Library. The five pieces of public art placed along the lane spotlight the importance of quality literature for young readers through their creative interpretations of the work of five Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award laureates. The works take a variety of forms, from bronze sculptures and peephole scenes to secret trails, lighted signs and murals.
Johan Thurfjell: Jättehemligt ('Super Secret')
Johan Thurfjell drew his inspiration from the 2014 ALMA laureate, Barbro Lindgren. His piece is loosely based on Lindgren’s book Jättehemligt (Super Secret), but above all, it seeks to capture the swirling imagination and awareness of the child’s perspective that, for Thurfjell, so strongly characterize Lindgren’s work as a whole. For the art lane, he created a piece about two fictional children sitting in separate apartments on either side of Klostergatan. It is a visual representation of the children’s thoughts: about life, the world, and everything in it. The thoughts rush through their heads incessantly but in no predictable rhythm, and in just the same way, Thurfjell’s two thought bubbles, using animated lights, light up at irregular intervals throughout the day and night. Materials: plastic and animated LED lighting.
Sara Möller: Daisy (How I Live Now)
Sara Möller worked with the book How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, the 2016 ALMA laureate. Her sculpture represents the book and its narrator, Daisy, who carries inside her a great sadness: a darkness that, over the course of the book, slowly lifts and begins to heal. Daisy is a heroine who rises from the ashes, fights for her freedom, and wrestles to come to terms with human brutality and the knowledge of how fragile life really is. In one summer, she goes from being a child to being almost grown up. In Möller’s sculpture, the buds of two daisies raise their heads. They have not yet opened, but they are already looking to the sky. Materials: bronze and stone.
Eva Larsson: Spårfinnarna ('Pathfinders')
Eva Larsson has created a tripartite work. The first part is a sculpture in bronze depicting two children who have made a discovery. Curious and attentive observers will discover a path leading from the sculpture to the courtyard of the children’s library, and ending at a piece of treasure: a magical golden world hidden behind a peephole. Larsson’s piece was inspired by the 2011 ALMA laureate, Shaun Tan. It channels the visual language and stories of children, which are so imaginative, playful and magical: a counterweight to the gray conformity of the everyday world.
Kolbeinn Karlsson: I månskenet dansar vi med monstren ('In the Moonlight We Dance with the Monsters')
Kolbeinn Karlsson’s work is a triptych using digital printing on Formica. The piece was influenced by the work of 2003 ALMA laureate Maurice Sendak, in particular Sendak’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are, but it also draws inspiration from the graphic arts of the Middle Ages. Figures of monsters, animals and costumed children dance in the moonlight. With this piece, Karlsson sought to convey a feeling of community and permissiveness: a shared experience of something extraordinary, liberating and fun. The mood is playful, with all figures, large and small, united in the choreography of the dance.
Helena Piippo Larsson: Berättelser om natten ('Stories of the Night')
Helena Piippo Larsson’s artwork has two components, a bronze sculpture and a light sculpture, and is placed in the library courtyard. Piippo Larsson was inspired by the 2010 ALMA laureate, Kitty Crowther, and by the narrative tradition itself, including oral storytelling. Whenever we read or listen to stories, literature creates a space of its own inside us: a world of the imagination. Piipo Larsson’s bronze sculpture calls to mind a hut, a tent or perhaps a campfire: a space to crawl into or gather around. Inside the bronze form, a light sculpture emits a rosy glow whose color and pattern reflect the visual world of Kitty Crowther.
Photo: Uppsala kommun/Pär Fredin