Swedish town makes art of the potato

Peter Vinthagen Simpson
Peter Vinthagen Simpson - [email protected]
Swedish town makes art of the potato

Alingsås in western Sweden has commissioned an offbeat work of art made entirely of potatoes to commemorate Potato Day, hoping to 'strike a blow' for the humble spud.


”We want to promote the potato in all its forms – culinary, cultural and now artistic,” Margareta Frost-Johansson at the Alingsås potato academy told The Local.

The potato academy - Academia Solanum Tuberosum - was founded in 2008, designated as international year of the potato by the United Nations, and aims to unite representatives from the industry to work to spread knowledge about the potato.

The academy is behind the Potato Day initiative and as part of the celebrations turned to the artist Emma Karp Lundström to repeat her fruit and veg artwork made famous at the Kivik apple market in south-eastern Sweden.

”We have recruited Emma Karp Lundström to strike a blow for the potato on potato day,” said Frost-Johansson.

The 5 by 2.5 metre collage has been created with the help of eight varieties of potato - Asterix, Amandine, Ballerina, Blue Congo, Cherie, Fontane, King Edward och Roaster - and will be unveiled at 1pm on Lilla Torg in central Alingsås.

Karp Lundström has for the past decade been the artist responsible for creating a collage of apple harvest varieties as a centre piece to the annual Kivik apple market which helps to attract some of the hordes of visitors that find their way to Sweden's Apple Kingdom in the Österlen region of Sweden's far south each year.

The market was launched in the 1998 in a bid to defend and promote Swedish-grown apples from international competition. Whether Potato Day can have the same effect on the humble Swedish spud remains to be seen, but Margareta Frost-Johansson told The Local that the event is here to stay.

”This is the first year and is something of a pilot. We plan to turn the occasion into an annual event,” she said.

After the 1pm unveiling, which will be accompanied by the music of the local King Edward Orchestra, Karp Lundström's piece will then be left to the elements for spectators to enjoy.

”It is the type of artwork which will change with time. The birds will no doubt find it attractive at some point,” Frost-Johansson said.


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