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Next to the Kungliga Borgen in Gärdet is Raja. With her big and stubby head facing downwards, her body bent forward, and her short legs sprawled apart, Raja’s stature could spark both comedy and sadness. In the same way people communicate through words, Raja conveys feeling and emotion through body language. In fact, the human body has been used as a measurement in the development of architecture, however, Raja’s anthropomorphic shape doesn’t conform to these references, instead her blown out proportions and clumsiness denotes a type of pity and attachment; an antithesis to the norm.

Raja stands on top of a ledge, hiding behind trees. Her blue exterior disappears amongst the greenery, fading into the sky as if transitioning into a ghost. Her central staircase, painted in bright pink, links her to the Kungliga Borgen and keeps her rooted to the ground. Two of her legs are standing upon a metal platform, and two are sunken in the ground and to keep her stable, she has cables that tie her down.

Raja’s main focus is on the melancholy that we can derive from cute. Although  is closer to a feeling than an aesthetic, it is important to note that it is not the same as sadness. Sadness implies a state of resignation or a feeling of unmotivation, whereas melancholy involves the pleasure of reflection on things we love and long for, with a touch of sweetness that makes it bearable. Melancholy is something we even desire from time to time, for it provides an opportunity for self-reflection. Raja invites you to ponder through your thoughts. We’re both exhilarated and contemplative as we survey the nature around her in solitude with a melancholic mood that appears to have no subject.

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Instructor: Ulrika Karlsson, Cecilia Lundbäck

Programme: Masters Thesis

Year: 2021​


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