Artist Frederik Anderson (aka Freddelanka) is creating two beautiful new murals commissioned by SHOUT for Nightingale50, celebrating the history of 50 years of the Nightingale.
The murals will be on display for the first time at the SHOUT Opening Party on 5th November.
Our programmer Adam Carver sat down with Freddelanka, to talk about their art work, their community work, their experience of creating this piece and their experiences of the Nightingale, Birmingham and SHOUT.
First off, could you tell us a bit about you and what you do?
So I am originally from Sweden but have lived in the UK for 6 years since starting my BA in Illustration in London. I was always planning to go back home but thanks to a mix of friends, work and failed attempts at love I have kind of lingered…
Most people probably recognise my work for its strong colours, bold shapes and its frank sense of humour.
My private work focuses around a form of diary-based drawing and writing, with a lot of my inspiration stemming from queer culture in London and me trying to unlearn a lot of the values that normative society has imprinted on me. This practice takes the form of ceramic vessels and drawn comics.
You also do a lot of work with the queer community, and using art for social change, right?
Well, since the Trump election, which shook me to the core, I started to develop a need to be a part of something more than just funny drawings of naked men and self-indulgent gay life. So I started working with LGBTQIA youth groups, offering workshops and going to activist meetings.
At these meetings I met Carla Ecola, who is the founder of The Outside Project (UK’s first LGBTQIA+ Shelter and community centre). Something about their immediacy to provide support for the community stuck with me and since then we have worked more and more closely, to the point where I am now their art director and space coordinator.
I think it is important to acknowledge where the power of art ends and how it supports the people that bring about actual change.
How have you found your time in Birmingham so far?
Exciting! Hearing all about the history of the gay village and the LGBT movement in Birmingham has been amazing so far.
How are you feeling about creating these murals for the Nightingale50 project?
I feel very honoured to have been invited to be a part of a project like this. It has made me realise how little I actually know about Swedish Gay History, and how disconnected I have become from it. It is a bit scary, but I am doing my best to handle the material with the utmost respect.
What have you learned so far about the Nightingale?
Besides being the oldest gay venue in Birmingham, I think that the most interesting aspect of this Is how the Gale started as a community-made members club in a house. It just shows how Queer people are worldmakers, we take our own destinies in our hands, making space for ourselves as no one else will stand up and do it for us. This is a phenomenon that is still happening to this day all over the world.
This mural is a reminder of the power that we hold as a community, if we are working together.
Ok, so other than your murals being unveiled – what else are you looking forward to at this year’s SHOUT?
Travis Alabanza’s Burgerz is a show I have heard so much about but have yet to see. So that is probably what I would suggest people catch if they have a chance.
Come and see Freddelanka’s murals being unveiled at the SHOUT opening party is 5th November. Birmingham’s own Yshee Black will host performances from a stellar line-up of UK’s best queer cabaret acts including Juno Birch. Then you can sit back for one of the greatest queer films of all time ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’. After the film head on over to The Village Inn for cabaret, games, and some serious disco beats at a SHOUT special edition of Ginny Lemon’s Pick ‘n’ Mix late into the night. All for £5!
Get your tickets here: https://shoutfestival.co.uk/events/shout-2019-opening-party-hedwig-and-the-angry-inch/
Fredrik Andersson is a queer artist/illustrator from Sweden, currently based in London. With their colourful work they speak about their experiences of the gay community. They also work a lot with the London and UK queer community, making posters for club nights and volunteering for projects like The Outside Project (UK’s first LGBTQIA+ Shelter and community centre). Fredrik believes that if you profit by making work based on a community it is important to find ways to give something back to that community.