”Make Art not War” – English version

Oberg's art 1
SHIMA, ESFAHAN – PHOTO PAINTING – 2016

Where does this man find his creativity? His art reflects the beauty, joy, play and balance of life? It’s done in playful photo-painting techniques.

The doorbell is disconnected, for, as he says with a smile, he does not want anyone to come and visit. However – he receives us with open arms. He was born in Denmark, lives in Lund and in the world. With open arms he lets us immediately into his world, which, first of all, reflects his recent return home from Syria’s Aleppo. Landing back in Lund after meeting people in a city of devastation and suffering – in a city largely razed to the ground – this landing at home is a still on-going process.

Öberg's art 2
Still in the air (photo Arletta)

What does the general official story of Syria look like? And how does it fit with, and how does it differ from what the story looks like in the country itself. That people in Aleppo were cheerful and happy now. That they experienced the Syrian army’s takeover of the city as a relief – as he had observed. And we – we asked ourselves why this picture seemed strange to us.

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Jan Öberg (to the left) artist and researcher of conflict and peace. Ellington to the right.

Jan Öberg was in Aleppo, Syria in his capacity of peace and conflict researcher. In that capacity, he has tried to find the conditions for dialogue and negotiation if possible. He met living people. His impression is that these ordinary people are glad that President Assad has regained power in their area. And he considers it important to try to understand why this image is not visible in Sweden. But more important still is to help create conditions that make it possible for people to live in Aleppo.

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View from Jan Öberg’s studio (photo Arletta)

This is what Jan Öberg tells us. And what does this all have to do with art, is our question when we see his pictures on his walls. We know that he is an artist. And we understand that his style is not a style but a play with styles. That his style is to experiment with photographic techniques and styles.

He has served in several conflict areas. There, as in Aleppo, he has met real people. After three hours of talk, we understand that his art is a way of adopting the joy and the creativity that he meets among people in the midst of suffering, misery and death. Art is also a way, we understand, for Jan Öberg to balance – in his own life – the impact of human tragedies with creative fun and play.

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Ellington /

the artworks depicted here were photographed by Arletta in Jan Öberg’s studio

Link to Jan Öberg’s website: Oberg PhotoGraphics Öberg FotoGrafik