The rain is pouring down and leaving glistening puddles in the streets. Yes, we do have days like this in West Sweden too. Most people prefer to spend wet days indoors, however this doesn’t necessarily mean staying at home or at a hotel. West Sweden offers plenty to do even on a rainy day.
Borås is a town with lots of indoor activities, suitable for all ages. One example is the various art museums. Great art experiences can also be had just walking along the streets of Borås. Wherever you go, there are different types of sculptures, and the buildings are decorated with huge, colourful works of art that brighten their currently grey and misty surroundings.
You may find the words ‘art’ and ‘museum’ a bit daunting, and worry that you have to be an art expert to fit in. But in reality, you don’t need to know anything about art. It is all about finding something that interests you personally.
– The most important thing is to arrive with an open mind. You don’t need to like everything. You can find some [works of art] ugly, and that’s ok. What matters is that you are able to reflect on why you like something, or not, says Linda Nilsson, Director of Abecita Art Museum.
Abecita Art Museum welcomes visitors with an enormous colourful façade mural. But don’t let the name Abecita fool you. Although lingerie was manufactured on these premises between 1942 and 1992, this is not the main focus of the museum. This is a young, modern and interactive art museum offering a broad range of artistic experiences for both young and old. The three floors of the museum offer photographic art, graphic art and award-winning Scandinavian textile art. The evenings are filled with workshops and photo sessions, where visitors can meet photographers, listen to lectures, and ask questions. There is also room where all artist who have been awarded The Nordic Textile Award are represented, resulting in a unique collection of Scandinavian textile works.
Simply walking around the museum premises is a unique experience in itself. The creaking floors and buzzing strip lights create a very special atmosphere, which feels homely in an unexpected way.
Unlike works at other art museums, the ones at Abecita were not originally intended for public display. Instead, they were purchased for the private enjoyment of husband and wife Berit and Bengt Swegmark, but as their interest in art grew, so did their collection. In 2000 the couple set up the foundation Focus Borås, which now owns Abecita Art Museum and its collections, and aims to promote health and culture in Borås.
Borås and the Sjuhärad Area have long been at the heart of the Swedish textile and fashion industries. This area has everything from research into textile technologies to textile importers, so it may not be a coincidence that Borås has its own textile museum. At the museum, visitors are greeted by a veritable explosion of colours. There are fabrics everywhere, in every imaginable colour, shape and pattern.
When you walk around the museum, you will notice how the sounds are muffled, even though they are not entirely muted – this gives the entire building a reverent, yet pleasant ambience.
The museum offer activities for every taste. Visitors can learn as much or as little about fabrics as they like. The upper floor has a DIY* section with sewing machines and looms where curious people of all ages can have a go. Like at most other museums, touching the works of art is not permitted, even though it is tempting. However, the museum’s open wardrobe on the same floor offers the opportunity to try, touch and feel shoes, trousers, hats, and much more.
– We sometimes receive pictures of entire families dressed up in clothes from our open wardrobe. This is great fun. Sometimes we have older persons who have dressed up and taken photos of themselves that they show in reception before they leave, says Therese Sjöblom, receptionist at The Museum of Textile History.
Borås Art Museum is located in the House of Culture and is well known for its national and international exhibitions, as well as its rich collection of contemporary Swedish art. The museum is a meeting place for different forms of artistic expression, which results in a unique and vibrant experience. The main characteristic of Borås Art Museum is its contemporary focus. The museum also works with local, unestablished artists, which may be considered brave, but is also very much in line with the latest trends.
– The best thing about this museum is that everything so accessible. You don’t have to be an art connoisseur to come here, says Sofia Lycke, host and curator at Borås Art Museum.
Once the rain stops and the sun comes out, or if you are not particularly worried about a few drops of rain, take the opportunity to walk around Borås. You don’t have to go far to see why. As I mentioned earlier, some of the buildings are covered in huge paintings, left from the Street Art Festival, No Limit. But as you admire the walls of the buildings, don’t forget to lower your gaze from time to time – the streets are lined with large and small sculptures, designed to make an impact.
*Do It Yourself
Text and photo: Frida Tverelv