This summer Swedish street art organisation Artscape joined the city of Gothenburg to help the city celebrate its 400-year anniversary. American artist Max Sansing created the eighth and finishing mural artwork ’Sweet Freedom’, making his first mark on European soil.
Sansing has in the last few years become one of the US most prominent urban artists seamlessly blending his roots in graffiti with classic figurative oil painting aesthetics and strong symbolism. His colourful expression, often featuring portraits of young black people, has now found its way to the neighbourhood of Biskopsgården, placed on the public sports hall at one of the local elementary schools.
“To be able to invite Max Sansing feels amazing. He is a politically conscious artist who unites symbolism, realism and expressive colours in a truly inspiring way and it will put Biskopsgården on the international art scene”, says Daniel Wakeham one of Artscape’s founders.
Max Sansing received his informal training on the Chicago graffiti scene and has since then graduated from American Institute of Art. Aside from his murals he has had work on display in galleries reaching from Washington to Miami. For ’Sweet Freedom’, Sansing took inspiration both from Swedish nature and the Ghanesian expression Sankofa, translating roughly to connecting to your past for wisdom.
The mural was made possible through a generous grant by the Sten A Olsson foundation for culture and science. “The art Artscape produces is free and available to all and through art their aim is to include and inspire. Our hope is that this joint effort will help to create a sense of pride and positive identity in Biskopsgården” comments chairman of the board Madeleine Olsson.
“Biskopsgården is an area where hardly any of the events surrounding the 400th anniversary take place. A big and impressive work of art in the neighbourhood can both bring new visitors as well as underline a sense of community in the area. We’re really grateful for the support of Stenastiftelsen making this mural possible”, adds Tor Hedendahl, one of Artscape’s founders.
The three storey high work of art was finished in September, being the latest piece in the region’s ever expanding collection of international street art. Before flying back home Sansing praised the Swedish working environment for how free he was to follow his creative intuition. “I didn’t even need to show a sketch and could figure stuff out as I went along. I kind of want to take this mural home with me. It was something special.”