Pen and wash, 26 x 36cm, 2008
Collection: Rebecca Sutton
During the late '70's in Gothenburg, many of the city's drug takers and alcoholics were living or squatting in the old wooden buildings in the Haga area.
As a community, the inhabitants, which was made up largely of: the older generation, whom had dwelled there for years; mixing with the hippies, homeless and unemployed of the younger generation, lived in relative harmony, though due to the worstening conditions and the fact that within the community were infant and junior schools, it was obvious that something had to be done to improve the situation. Many of the condemned buildings being inhabited were even without inside sanitation. So were pulled down.
The picture above was executed with the aid of a black and white photograph and what struck me about the composition painted by the dwellers was that, unlike today where the graffiti would be no more than mindless morons "tagging" their areas as dogs do pissing in the street, at least there is an amount of skill trying to convey hope depicted in the work which shows: a family in a home, birds, trees, kites flying, pets and new buildings. Hope for a better future.
There are still many of the old building standing; renovated and inhabited and are mixed with the new. There are still pockets of drug dealers still plying their wares. When I live there, I was looking down on a house in which the occupants openly sold drugs from their window to callers on the street. They probably still do.
That apart, it is now probably the most visited area for tourists in Gothenburg.
I gave the painting to my Goddaughter, Rebecca on the occasion of her Graduation in June 2008