The painting was made at the request of the inhabitants of Svartlamoen, as part of their year-long battle against the city council’s attempt to demolish the characteristic working-class area. The decoration is painted directly onto an approximately 8 x 7 meter gable-wall. The wall is naturally divided in two, with unmistakeable traces of a neighbour house, already torn down after a fire. Bleken took responsibility for the upper part, embellishing it with two figures of “Justice” in white robes against a blue sky. Meanwhile Gullvåg’s picture depicted the cross-section of a house, furnished and occupied. With this Gullvåg effectively emphasized that Svartlamoen should be allowed to continue its existence. The motif is simple and stylised in order to function well when seen at a distance.
The way these two acclaimed artists used their painterly expressions in order to preserve other cultural values is unique in the Norwegian context. In fact, the municipality repeatedly forbade them to paint on the house but the artists disregarded the prohibition. The matter received great media attention. Even so, the politicians and those with commercial interests did not give up easily. The following year they discussed moving the entire house to an open-air folk-museum and to continue demolishing the rest of the buildings. Therefore the artists painted little oval oblates on each of the 12 threatened houses. Gullvåg’s idea for the oblates derived from Prague, where, instead of numbers, the houses have painted pictures or symbols.
This decoration is a unique phenomenon in contemporary Norway, where art has functioned as an active protest against a political resolution, and it was surely significant for the city council’s decision to reverse the demolition order.