Walk around the streets of most cities and you will eventually come across spray painted tags or signatures by the sidewalk or under certain areas. These items using don’t convey any meaning to a regular viewer like you or me except to add variety and colour to the place. Wall around the same streets though and you will sometimes see a full piece of work, again in public but this one clearly done by a professional, usually with a statement that you can clearly understand. You have, in an average day come across two forms of public expression – graffiti and street art.
Street art and graffiti are still controversial in some parts, some part see this as an extension of city life, other see it as glorified vandalism. But one man’s meat is another man’s poison.
Street art and graffiti are not the same thing. Granted, both began as subversive movements rebelling against the artisitic establishment viewed through the lense of snotty highfalutin museums (think of the Dutch masters at the Rijksmuseum); both also involve public displays of art on a canvass provided by whatever is available but their intentions are different.
Graffiti is not intended for you and me to appreciate as much as it is meant for the purveyor to just express something to the wider graffiti community, your viewership is incidental. Street art on the other hand was drawn for you, with a message meant to be told to you – the message is sometimes politically incorrect (its one of the few mediums by which politically incorrect statements don’t give offence), but its meant to provoke a response from you.
Which is what makes Snösätra Wall of Fame fascinating. Although it is writtten as a Graffiti Park on Google maps, it is for all intents and purposes, a street art museum – a free, open-air, public musuem with an annual change of art pieces when the annual Snösätra Graffiti festival comes along. Only that this museum is mostly inaccessible and off the beaten track.
The Snösätra Wall of Fame is located on the remains of an industrial area far out of the city and the location is still a graveyard of old vehicles and workshops. The road is uneven, there are no amenities, there are no conveniences, there is no transport.* There is practically no reason to be at this industrial wasteland, this is a museum that demands its audience to want to be there so they can appreciate the work and the message of the street artists.
Located in the southern Stockholn district of Råvsged, Snösätra used to be a factory area but was abandoned as factories closed. The jobs gone, there was no reason for people to bother about the district. Street artists petitioned the land owners to use the place and paint over the grey walls (that law-abiding boldness though) and got the land owner’s approval in 2014. The rough neighbourhood soon became home to one of the largest street art exhibitions in Europe.
Snösätra grew in fame over time leading to an annual street art festival where top street artists the world over arrive with their work and the space is open and allowed for anyone who obeys the rules to take part.
Okay enough talk, time to enjoy the art!
*The nearest metro station is around 1.5km away.
ON THE MAP