The Snösätra neighbourhood in Rågsved, Stockholm – a once dead industrial area – has been transformed into a graffiti paradise when the property owners gave permission for the grey dilapidated walls to be taken over by colourful graffiti that now not just brightens the day of anyone passing by but also attracts visitors to this nondescript neighbourhood.
Graffiti has long been associated with illegal defacing of public spaces, gangster life, a subvert culture, probably men in hoodies and more. However art enthusiasts are trying to make graffiti acceptable as an art form and when you see the more than 1 km long graffiti art on display at Snösätragränd in Rågsved, south Stockholm, a 20 minute subway ride from the city centre, you would agree that it is indeed beautiful and something unheard of – it was all done legally.
For many of us, it is easy to get caught up in the routines of everyday life and miss out the sights and beauty in your own city. I hadn’t heard of the graffiti wall until a friend of mine who was planning to visit me in Stockholm said she wanted to go there.
If you have already seen the Gothic architecture in Old Town or Gamla Stan, manicured lawns at Djurgården, perfectly trimmed trees outside the Royal palace or the picture-perfect red cottages in the countryside, then you should head here for something that has a touch of rough, raw and unmade distinct street style. Even though this graffiti is done legally it is still a representative of another side of Stockholm.
Art gives you that license to say what you want and the art at Rågsved also makes important as well as tongue-in-cheek political and environmental statements.
Anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy was one of the first to make such statements on the walls of Bristol and London, and later in cities around the world like New York.
The idea for the Snösätra walls is also to have new and fresh graffiti every year so that visitors come back. The ‘Spring Beast Graffiti Festival’ held for the past four years in May opens the walls to various artists from around the world to paint over the walls and unleash their creativity.
There is a special wall for kids too. Spring Beast is a grassroots initiative to encourage urban culture and free expression in its purest form. At the festival you can get a chance to meet the artists behind the artwork, and also get a chance to try it out yourself. There are also live concerts with a huge variety of musicians, dancers and all kinds of different performances. Alongside graffiti, music and art, you also get the chance to try out Yoga, Qi Gong, and a large diversity of activities.
Graffitifrämjandet or “the Graffiti Promoters” in Sweden must definitely be happy about this rising graffiti movement. Graffitifrämjandet work to improve the status of graffiti as an artistic expression and to spread awareness about graffiti, street art and related artistic expressions on a local, national and international level.
They say on their website: “Graffitifrämjandet is working for the development of tolerance policies in Swedish cities, policies that includes graffiti, street art and similar expressions as a welcome feature of the public realm, and as means to counterbalance corporate interest.”
Other legal graffiti walls have also popped up in Stockholm recently, in Tensta, Farsta and Södermalm (Tanto).
Here’s to more graffiti and art in our society!
How to get there: Take the green line towards Hagsätra on the local Stockholm metro and get off at Rågsved station. Snösätragränd is a 15 minute walk from Rågsved station.
Spring Beast Festival – to be held on 24th t0 26th May 2019
Snösätra Hall of Fame
Want to try your hand at graffiti, organize a workshop on visual arts or a group guided tour, check: http://www.dokument.org/
Your Living City’s video from the Springbeat Festival of 2017