EXHIBITION. Skinheads. Skinheads, skinheads. Many get the shivers only by hearing the word. Others become upset. But instead of getting upset or afraid photographer Anna C Eriksson began following the skinheads. And she did so for seven years. Driven by her curiosity. The result of her research is an exhibition that opens today at Kulturhuset. - Oh, I have so much material from my years of research, says Anna C Eriksson.


Has little in common


We get pictures of angry skinheads, skinheads drinking beer, Nazi skinheads and sleeping skinheads. We also get to know coloured skinheads, "redskins" and kissing skinheads. - The skinhead subculture contains many different groups and many of them have very little in common, Anna says. Meanwhile a group of tattooed young men shows up and cheers " Hello Anna!" At Anna C Eriksson's exhibition we not only meet the dangerous and violent skinheads, we also meet the so called "original skins" - These are the skinheads that love the path of the subculture that origins from the 60's and those have nothing in common with the naziskins, according to Anna.


Does not fit in


Instead they are beaten up by Nazis, immigrant gangs and anarchists. The original skins don’t fit in anywhere. But the love to the early British skinhead and working class culture and to the reggae music keeps them in the group. Anna got in contact with these groups seven years ago and found out that all of them are some kind of outsiders. At the time I was with a group of people that where extremely provoked by a skinhead we met. I began to wonder why they were so upset. I gave my phone number to the skinhead and he began to tell me about his life which appeared quite tragic and unstable. After that first acquaintance I met skinheads from different groups within the subculture. Driven by my curiosity I wanted to tell a different story than the stereotype.


 And she has done that in an open way without putting a brand on them, or building an automatic wall of hatred.


Henric Tiselius



We see a lot of young people in the escalator on our way up to the fifth floor. In one of the exhibition halls we get to know Finnish-Swedish people in a surprising way.


Seven years ago the photographer Anna C Eriksson met a group of skinheads. From that moment she began to explore the otherwise so intimidating subculture. Eriksson was also surprised that so many of the skinheads in Stockholm had a Finnish background.


- I met more skinheads and I soon understood that their subculture is more than its surface, boots and shaved heads.


There are showcases with several skinhead boots among the paintings - they represent different users.


The photographs show us skinheads at concerts, sleeping in a cabin at the ferry to Helsinki and walking in the streets...


I was driven by my curiosity. I wanted to know the truth about the Swedish skinheads. I have met strong feelings - happiness, hopelessness and doubt... I found as many truths as there are individuals, Eriksson says.


Tiina Rajamäki



… The exhibition is the result of Eriksson's seven year long work It was very bold to show these strong artworks in the same showroom as the graffiti. Curator Linda Ånger at Lava (Kulturhuset Stockholm) seemed to be pleased to create a discussion between the two entirely different subcultures (that usually meet in fights.)


Anna is a self-taught artist. She has received support from her parents, both of whom are artists. Anna sees behind the surface and writes about her experiences; take photos and paints what she sees…

Anna is a perfectionist. It can take up to six months to create one painting… I must admire Anna's patience and endurance…


The Skinhead exhibition revealed interesting facts about the skinhead culture, how it all started and different styles within the subculture. The most unexpected was perhaps the facts about original skinheads… those who like soul music and reggae. We also need to mention the SHARP skins (skinheads Against Racial Prejudice), the group that demonstrates the fact that not all skinheads are Nazis and racists. Their basic idea is the style and the music, and they are also more similar to the original skinheads…


The only negative with Skinheads and the entire Extreme Passion exhibition was that the information was only in Swedish. The curator of the exhibition Linda was surprised by the international attention. An American man (who wanted to buy almost every single painting on the wall) was disappointed the texts were not in English. Unfortunately the busy curator didn't have time to adjust that.


Thanks to curator Linda Ånger and all the artists who opened their worlds for curious passers-by.


Thanks also to the other Linda who took me to the exhibition for the first time!


Petri Summanen

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