Mystery of Sweden’s guerilla dog sculptures

They are popping up on roundabouts all over Sweden, but only a select few know who is making the wooden dogs that constitute the country's latest guerilla art movement.

It all started in March when a concrete canine sculpture on a roundabout in Linköping, south of Stockholm, was removed after being vandalised. The piece was the work of artist Stina Opitz, and had been commissioned by the local council.

But after a month or so a new dog, this time made out of wood, appeared where Opitz’s work once stood. Since then, around 60 ’roundabout dogs’ have popped up at junctions around the town.

“The dogs started appearing all the time,” said Lena Wiklund at the Östergötland County Museum, which is commemorating the trend by launching an exhibition of dogs found on Linköping roundabouts.

“Now it’s spread to other towns and counties all over Sweden – it has become something of a popular movement,” Wiklund told The Local. Dogs have appeared in Stockholm, Karlstad, Skåne and other parts of Sweden.

The dogs come in different shapes, sizes and colours. Models of cats and snails have also appeared.

Most of the people responsible for putting the dogs on roundabouts have remained anonymous. A group calling itself Akademi Vreta Kloster (AVK) claimed the credit for some of the first roundabout dogs. They released a statement to local newspaper Corren in which they said that they were protesting against vandalism in society.

But according to Expressen, other guerilla artists have different motives for making their dog sculptures. Peter Nyberg of Linköping told tabloid Expressen that his dogs were intended to “mock the state-employed artists, who get so much money to make sculptures that we can do just as well ourselves.”

The exhibition of canine sculptures will continue at the Östergötland County Museum (Östergötlands Länsmuseet) until early January.