Elisabet Apelmo

The poetry and politics of everyday life

In my artistic practice, in addition to more traditional exhibitions, I am interested in creating public art that fits into its environment and is not necessarily or immediately perceived as art. In the past I have worked with sound, performance, video and photography in public spaces. In Lichtenberg, I started to explore how drawing can be used in public urban space.

The drawings are about the poetry and politics of everyday life – climate, peace, and social justice. They are inspired by messages and images I have photographed while walking in the area. They are all performative in nature, both in the actual making of them in public and in the traces of the drawings by hand.

Bright shadows

Outside the studio, I saw children drawing on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk. At night, I went out with my sidewalk chalks and drew shadows of plants, a bicycle, and a post. Five drawings were made. I drew in white or very light colors, and since they were in the shadows, they could only be seen in the flash or daylight.


I saw several “Missing posters” whose texts expressed a sense of sadness, longing and despair about lost cats, dogs and a parrot. I made charcoal drawings from photos I had on the computer: my cat at home in Malmö and my dog who died when I was a teenager. Finally, a close friend who passed away. 14 copied drawings were put up.

Sand dove

At the Friedrichsfelde stadium, I noticed patterns in the sand on the artificial turf. Earlier I had photographed a sticker with a dove of peace. I made a stencil from an enlarged dove of peace and then returned to the sports field with the stencil, a dustpan, and a shovel. I swept up the sand on the artificial turf, laid out the stencil, and sprinkled the sand back into the stencil. This was repeated in five places.

It is not too late!

The text and font are borrowed from a poster campaign by the Berlin Environmental Movement, which is working to make the city carbon neutral by 2030. I drew the text in ink on six sheets of pen and paper, then attached them to various seats with double-sided tape.

“How a society is doing…”

Some of the stickers and posters I photographed were political. In the studio, I was listening to a Swedish radio program with Nicolas Lunabba from the Helamalmö Association, which works with children and youth and has social justice as its goal. I based my drawing on a translated quote from Lunabba. Then I enlarged the drawing to enhance the feeling of the hand’s work and the time it took to draw. The work was placed in the pedestrian tunnel of the S-Bahn Nöldnerplatz.

October, 2022