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The second workshop week begins, with a new set-up and new people arriving; and, as always, group dynamics are deeply engaging. We’re all individuals, but what determines our readiness to collaborate? How do we sustain an emotional space where shared pleasure doesn’t block the individual performance – or the reverse? My function is to find ways for creative coexistence, every day anew.

This time, the story takes a slightly different turn; the sun is dimmed by a grim July Shadow, and the refugees drift away in darkness – surviving by throwing their nets to catch fish from the deep… This somehow seems to mirror the general atmosphere within this group, where the majority of participants go in for personal projects rather than collaborations – each one catching their own fish.

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Some of us get along quietly, others draw a lot of attention – yet there is mutual respect. There are just so many ways of being human; of becoming…

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Anna, Emilia, Robert, Tomas, Lars-Ola, Marianne, Göran and everybody else – thank you so much for opening such colourful, remarkable views into your inner worlds!

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Works by participants in the creative summer workshop at Gillberga, Södertälje (photo: HHW.)

Each morning, our story evolves a bit further. After days and nights at sea, the refugees finally reach a safe shore. Among the few precious things they’ve brought with them is a pouch filled with seeds of all kinds: chia seeds, white beans, sunflower seeds… Conch seeds and starseeds too. A grumpy gardener shows up. A minute butterfly alights upon a rainbow-coloured dreamcatcher. Instantly, the seeds are sprouting… Blue-striped flowers and roses spring into bloom. Maybe we can settle here?

I am very privileged to spend my days together with friends like you in the Land of Mir. Thank you for this week – Sofia, Christian, Ragad, Tommy, Pia, Henry, Ulf and others! May your secret gardens always bloom and bring you sweet fruit.

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skaparläger 2017 021First day of the summer workshop. Around twenty people meet up in the morning. Some are newcomers, most of us have met before. Some of us (but far from all) are experienced in painting, modelling and drawing. As a group, we represent a broad range of physical/cognitive variations, with one constant: our common need for – and delight in – working with creative expressions. I open the workshop with the beginning of a story; a tale of a gruesome tempest and a small group of people fleeing in a boat… What would they bring with them to start a new life? And what will happen next?

In the days to come, the story will find its way through our shared emotions, experiences, images and words… No matter if you cannot speak or if your hands won’t move according to your will; sincerity and playfulness, the urge to communicate will come through somehow. Form and colour provide a powerful language.

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More preparations: stones and water forming a miniature landscape indoors, lit by a wandering sunray. The beginning of a story emerges… Painting material is now distributed on all tables. So, welcome tomorrow!

 

Preparing for my recurrent commission, a creative workshop, in a spacious building embraced by summer. One day for bringing the material, covering the floor, arranging tables and chairs… Paint and brushes. Paper, pencils and crayons. Waiting mode. Not ready yet.

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oil paint on canvas, 200 x 200 cms; five subsequent stages, February – April 2017

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170227; graphite pencil on paper, 21×28 cms