Helene Stalin Åkeson I wrap myself in leopard" 2018. Foto @OLA Galleri&Ateljé. 

Helene Stalin Åkesson 



3 August  -  6 October 2019


OLA Galleri & Ateljé is pleased to present in Helene Stalin Åkesson’s: “Portraits of the humble companion” the portraits of docile canines, reflecting  common human postures and realities, while avoiding the shame  or pride humans would express.


In 1894  Cassius Marcellus Coolidge started a series of 16 paintings of dog portraits as part of an advertisement for cigarettes, a series of paintings portraying dogs, in some of them playing cards and behaving in such way humans would do. Since then, the portraying of canines in human habits  has been disappearing in time,  until Helene Stalin Åkesson would seriously take over  the painting of dogs on canvas.


Helene Stalin Åkesson, 1971, is a Swedish artist born in Stockholm, she grew up in the city of Jonköping and studied in the school of art in her early years, where she’s got the opportunity to study together with older queer students and find artistic challenges. Her career continued at Lund’s University and Gothenburg University in the careers of Science of the arts and Cultural administration respectively. At the age of 23 Stalin Åkesson has worked as a building antiquarian, primarily in the museum sector but also on the government side and in the vocational education field.

Finally she got education as graphic recorder in 2013.


In her painting, she focused for a long time on watercolors, mainly for landscape motifs, but today she works almost exclusively in oil colors and acrylics. The motives today are way more expressive, and each artwork holds traces of hidden stories and figures.


The dog portrait came partly by chance. Inspired by her hunting Labrador Alba, Helene started painting Alba first but soon also dogs of other breeds. Dressed up, were no longer primarily portraits of specific dogs. For Helene, it is rather about exploring and shaping the situations and contexts in which  humans might end up. The artist has found a free zone where her portraits often become general human. Titles are thought traces, sometimes based on an original idea, sometimes on a reflection during the work process.

Helene herself sees her painting as a kind of illustrative art, which she hopes encourages to reflections and an invitee to discussion, having the loyal companion as main subject.