Instagram auction set to boost Stockholm art scene

Dreamt up by Stockholm-based Gustav Almestål and Hedvig Myhrman, S.Y.L.A. offers an accessible, streamlined concept to support local contemporary artists

Frida Lundén Mörck, Subversive Softness
Frida Lundén Mörck, Subversive Softness XVII, 2020
(Image credit: GUSTAV ALMESTÅL)

As Covid-19 continues to hinder in-real-life art interaction, Stockholm-based photographer (and longtime Wallpaper* contributor) Gustav Almestål and art director Hedvig Myhrman have devised a deft solution. 

S.Y.L.A. (which stands for Support Your Local Artist) is a curated Instagram auction initiative aiming to bring ‘artists and audience closer together’ to give the Stockholm arts community a welcome boost in the process. 

Live through February 2021, the curated auction brings together works in a spectrum of approaches and materials. Sculpture – in all its glorious forms – is a recurring theme, but available works also comprise ceramics, painting, textile art, pastel works, glass pieces, created by both emerging and established contemporary artists.

Erika Emerén, SLT, 2020

Erika Emerén, SLT, 2020

(Image credit: GUSTAV ALMESTÅL)

The formula is simple: prospective buyers can browse the available works on the S.Y.L.A website. When a piece piques their interest, they submit an offer (in Euros) via direct message on Instagram. One hour before the auction slot for a specific work ends, interested bidders are then connected in a thread, and the highest bidder becomes the proud new owner. 

Many of the works share common threads, from references to key themes in art history to the artists’ cultural heritage as well as the ongoing pandemic. In Polnarnatt (2020) Sámi artist Carola Grahn combines reindeer hide, sinew thread and woollen fabric – materials traditionally used in duodji, a traditional Sámi craft, in a manner reminiscent of minimalist abstract painting. Siri Carlén’s colourful pastel drawing Still life (2018) sees everyday objects bear traces of the human hand as well as her folklore inspiration. Yngvild Saeter materialises her visions during a failed brain surgery, in the shamanistic biker-influenced Aragorn Light (2020) with antlers growing out of it. 

S.Y.L.A. is both a timely reminder of the critical support needed for artists in a time of shared crisis, and a clever solution to art appreciation in our ongoing virtual reality. 

Carola Grahn, Polnarnatt

Carola Grahn, Polnarnatt, 2020

(Image credit: GUSTAV ALMESTÅL)

Siri Carlén, Still Life

Siri Carlén, Still Life, 2018

(Image credit: GUSTAV ALMESTÅL)

Yngvild Saeter, Aragorn Light

Yngvild Saeter, Aragorn Light, 2020

(Image credit: GUSTAV ALMESTÅL)

Jonatan Nilsson, Resin Vase

Jonatan Nilsson, Resin Vase, 2020

(Image credit: GUSTAV ALMESTÅL)

Sara Lundkvist, Ring i Ring

Sara Lundkvist, Ring i Ring

(Image credit: GUSTAV ALMESTÅL)

Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg, Congo Rug

Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg, Congo Rug

(Image credit: GUSTAV ALMESTÅL)

Linnéa Gad, Tree Became Tounge

Linnéa Gad, Tree Became Tounge

(Image credit: GUSTAV ALMESTÅL)


S.Y.L.A. auctions will take place online through February 2021.


Harriet Lloyd-Smith was the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.

With contributions from