What is the Purpose of Art?

Is art just pretentious? Do we actually need it?

Erik Engheim
11 min readApr 18, 2021


I have an odd relation to art. I grew up on an volcanic island in the Oslo fjord in Norway. The pearl of the Oslo fjord they called it. It has beautiful beaches and nature which is quite unlike other places in Norway because the lords of the old manors scattered around the island imported trees from all over Europe and planted them there. Thus the forrest is quite different from what you find in the rest of Norway.

Where I have walked countless Sunday walks, looking from the island of Jeløya out over the Oslo fjord seeing the Bastøya ferry connecting my home town of Moss to the town of Horten on the other side of the fjord.

My parents followed an old Norwegian tradition, of taking long walks on sunday. I think most Norwegian kids when exposed to this, hate it. Me and my brother sure did. Ironically we did not stop taking these walks when we got older and had a choice. It became part of you. We had simply come to appreciate walking through the beautiful countryside of the island of Jeløya. One thing almost everybody on the island loved doing was walking through the forrest and countryside all the way to the F15 manor.

The F15 Art Gallery of my childhood sunday walks.

Some lord had long ago owned it but today and in my childhood it had become an art gallery. The place also had a very popular café. It served special pastry that everyone in my home town Moss loved. That was part of the joy. You walk for a long time, and then you sit down in the sun outside the manor, looking out over the Oslo fjord and eat your delicious pastry. Maybe you would have a chat with the next table over. Since everybody went hiking there, it seemed like you met every old friend, relative or colleague sooner or later if you went there. As I got older I would meet my old teachers.

Alby Kringle. This pastry packed with fat and sugar is what sundays was all about. And the end of the hated sunday walks, me and my brother would get one of these.

Enough about pastry! What about the art? Since this was our destination we might as well have a look at the art right? And thus every week through my childhood year after year I watched art. Mostly modern art. They always had lots of arts installations in the natural surroundings.

My parents where kind of the liberal arts intellectuals that took an interest in art. My…



Erik Engheim

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.