Art, Nature, History…Wanås!

Three kilometers outside of the rural village of Knislinge (20 minutes east of Hässleholm ) you find the old manor/art galleries of Wanås.  The Wanås estate is dedicated to uniting the areas of art, nature, and history and proves to be a wonderful day excursion if you happen to find yourself in southern Sweden.

With Spring in full bloom, now would be a wonderful time to explore the estate, to amble along the paths, never knowing what beauty or mystery awaits around the corner.  Momma S, the boys and I visited Wanås in the Autumn, and even then we were transfixed by the installations that they had.  We have been told that many of the art pieces themselves seem to change with the seasons, continually creating new impressions and sights.  What made the visit so fun is that many of the installations are there for you to interact with.  The boys had so much fun exploring the giant cinder block type cube in the middle of the forest, or climbing over the multicolored Tetris like formation, or listening to the eerie cries of a little boy echo through the trees of a piece designed for your audio pleasure…and mystery.

With cafes for the taste buds, an upside down house, tree swings, and words of wisdom etched in rock walls (if you take the time to search them out), Wanås offers a bit of joy for everyone in the family.

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Art in a Shipping Tube

giant OBEY giant

giant OBEY giant (Photo credit: joo0ey)

There is a problem with leading a nomadic lifestyle.  Well, there are many problems, but the one on my mind today deals with art.  My wife is something of an artist, photography, and I am an appreciator of art.  Traveling has exposed us to many diverse art forms and we have collected a decent collection.  From Bangladesh we have multiple rickshaw art paintings and some beautiful textiles, from India we have some decorative lamps and a variety of masks, we also have masks from Nepal and Burma, from Vietnam we have a series of reproduction propaganda posters, also from Burma we have a nice restored pieces of furniture and a few beautiful paintings, and on top of all this, we have multiple pieces of work by Shepard Fairey and in Burma we discovered the artist Casper Johansson and have a really nice piece of his.  In addition to all of this, my wife has a ton of awesome photos of her own.

The problem of all this, is that in our home now we only have three masks and one photo hanging.  Admittedly, much of the art work we collected in Bangladesh and India as well as the majority of my masks are languishing in a box in the basement of my parents’ home in the US…another part of the problem.  Here in Sweden, we actually spent the money to ship the pieces of furniture and paintings we had in Burma so that we could display them; but…we are once again asking ourselves, “How long are we going to stay here?”  “If I get a job next year we might buy a home here, shouldn’t we wait to put up the artwork in our home and not this temporary apartment where we need to pay/repair any holes made by hanging the pieces?”  And quite frankly, the apartment we are in now does not have the space to tastefully display all of the art we have here.

So here we are, avid supporters of the arts with hardly a piece of it up on the walls for us to enjoy.  The reason:  we are nomadic.  We are constantly changing homes and countries of residence.  Through all of these transitions, more and more of our art ends up being stored in the basement of my folks. (Thanks mom and dad, I really do appreciate it and one day we will take it away.)  But that one day has yet to arrive.  Moving to Sweden, we thought this would be it.  We would come in, buy a home for an extended stay and put all of our art up.  Six months later we are concerned that this will be a shorter stay than intended and that we will once again need to pack up our stuff and spend the money to ship it somewhere else.

Being nomadic, is it even worth collecting material objects?  But is art merely material?  Art is very important to us and we like to collect examples of it from the different countries we have experiences, but what’s the point when we can’t even appreciate it ourselves much less share with others?

So right now, in our utility closet we have two shipping tubes.  One is full of Shepard Fairey pieces, and the other contains Communist propaganda from Vietnam.  In a box under the M’s changing table are three large paintings and mixed media work from Burma.  In our storage space in the basement of this apartment we have a pair of Chinthe bronze statues, a set of Ogre balls from Burma, and an ox bell display all boxed up.  In the closet we have Naga and Chin tapestries and textiles folded up, and in the beautiful old trunk we got in Burma, we have a ton of photographs of our family and shots that my wife has taken and printed while in Burma…locked away out of site.  Now what is the point of all of this?

Some sites of interest: