Graphite & Acryla-Gouache on salvaged plywood
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I was staying with my cousin in Malmö for several weeks in the nascent days of springtime and often would walk from her apartment to the Slottsträdgården nearby, along the edge of the moat surrounding the art museum, past the windmill, through the tulip fields. There was a cafe in a greenhouse amidst the flowers where you could sit and have fika, a traditional Swedish coffee break with sweet pastries. There were swans gliding in ponds, furry chicks following every adult bird in sight, and buds popping out of every tree branch.
In this unbelievably picturesque setting sat the city library, half castle built in the 1890’s, half glass box, a calendar of light, built in 1997. Separated by a century, but joined by a cylindrical building which forms the entrance, these two architectural styles seem to characterize the psychological balance that the inhabitants of the area embody: a respect and appreciation for the past with a clear, practical sense of the present and future.
On different visits, I wandered through the library, taking off my shoes and admiring the range of international languages in the cozy, carpeted children’s section, pausing to watch students participating in after-school activities in a section for teens, perusing the extensive graphic novels, quietly browsing older books in the room dedicated to local history.
Everywhere I wandered, I noticed the Swedish dads, charmingly engaging with their children and a noticeable effect of the country’s gender equality practices, specifically the generous parental leave allowances.