Hilma Nordén colors Slakthuset

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During the week, Hilma Nordén created a mural painting called Warm in hay and straw, dreaming at night in the area Slakthuset in Gothenburg , which, thanks to the property owner Higab, was transformed into a creative area with including restaurants, breweries, urban gardening and coworking spaces for artists and artisans. Youthpower in Gothenburg has in collaboration with Higab organized the art project. The ambition is for the artwork to please visitors to the area and contribute to more people finding their way here. On Thursday, October 6, Higab held a vernissage where Hilma’s mural painting was unveiled to the guests.

During the course of the week, we took the opportunity to find out more about Hilma Nordén and her art. We also had the opportunity to ask questions about her creative process and her tips for aspiring artists. Hilma is an artist who works with an exploration of culture’s creation of nature, folk beliefs, notions of magic, the place of the forest in our modern society. There is more than just planted trees in the forest, and through her artistry she wants to explore contemporary and historical beliefs in the story of it. Hilma grew up in production forest and when she returns to places that were important in her childhood, they are often gone. A forest that she has come to know as a living individual, not just a place, can suddenly be felled. It’s like a loved one has passed away without a funeral or a memorial service. When she paints, it is with matte vinyl paint, and sometimes the paint is allowed to flow as it wants under a texture of fur, and in sculptural work she often chooses textile materials. She wants to paint tributes, create works in memory of the lost ecosystems that are silently felled in shifts every day and night, this constant sawing that always rumbles. In this way, Hilma’s work also becomes a self-portrait of herself, since it is her relationship to her world that is depicted. There are also sometimes depictions of human-like figures, which she believes are herself, which recur in her art. Hilma likes the physical, tactile and the living.

What does this artwork mean to you?

– The motif consists of a horse and a cow playing together with two women among plants. It feels like cows and women have had a close relationship historically, as it was usually the woman in the family who milked the cow in the past. I have neither painted cows nor worked in this area before so it feels fun to participate in this art project!

Do you have any tips for young artists who want to get to where you are?

– Go to preparatory art school! It doesn’t have to be a long art education at university but it is important to give yourself time to explore the art full-time. You need time to discover yourself as an artist, learn the terminology, figure out what kind of creation you are passionate about and above all practicing as much as possible! I went to art school for 4 years and thought I knew what I wanted to do when I started but over time that changed. It takes a long time to figure out what you are passionate about and I think the most important thing is to practice without thinking so much. Art books and exhibitions are also good tools to find the right one. 

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