Actions of Art and Solidarity, curated by Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA),presents 76 works by artists, activists, collectives and thinkers from around the world, including Norway, catalysing cultural, socio-political and environmental solidarity across different geographies and contexts from the 1950s to the present day. Explore the exhibition in more detail below.
Kunstnernes Hus (The Artists’ House) is a symbolic venue, since the institution has played a recurrent part in Norway’s own contribution to artistic solidarities – from presenting Pablo Picasso’s Guernica in 1938 during its international solidarity tour, to organising exhibitions of solidarity with other parts of the world.
In this exhibition, a reproduction of Guernica has found its way back to Kunstnernes Hus: Mural para fábrica socialista (1981) by Beatriz González explores what Guernica would look like had it been created in Colombia, with the artist trading out the graphic black and white style of the original for a full colour, more emotional rendition in tiles.
A number of works were especially commissioned for the exhibition, for instance the Solidarity Patchwork which conveys stories of solidarity connected to Norway's forty-year solidarity association, The Norwegian Solidarity Committee for Latin America. The patchwork has been generated by two of its leading members, Astrid and Ingrid Fadnes.
The case studies included in the exhibition have been sourced across four continents, and cover a 70-year time span of artistic creativity. The Delhi-based arts collective Sahmat is known its experimental, innovative and cross-disciplinary projects. Sahmat is represented with works from the exhibitions Gift for India (1997), The Making of India (2004), Making History Our Own (2007) as well as the Sahmat banners.
Itis those very networks of personal connectivity and empathy created by artists over time around a particular issue and configured within their art works of solidarity, that inspire society at large to imagine life differently and step-forward in ways that generate profound transformation.
The exhibition presents a number of video works, such as Naeem Mohaiemen's Two Meetings and a Funeral (2017) and Bouchra Khalili's The Tempest Society (2017).
One of the exhibition halls is dedicated to displaying a number of works on loan from the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende (MSSA).
The now legendary Operación Verdad (Operation Truth) was launched in Chile in 1971 by the newly elected socialist democracy government of Salvador Allende, to resist an international and defamatory campaign by US-backed right-wing opposition forces. Through the operation, Chile opened its doors to international journalists, intellectuals, artists and others interested in witnessing and bringing testimony globally to the democratic reality of the country. Shortly after, the Museo de la Solidaridad was founded.
At the top of the staircase the visitor meets Gitte Dæhlin's iconic piece She Who Carries the Memory of this Earth, Where Does this Earth Carry Her? (1981-83).
In the lower exhibition hall, the tapestry Mr. Atom (1952) by Hannah Ryggen as well as a series of collages by the South-African artist Gavin Jantjes, South African Colouring Book (1989) are presented.
The sculptural installation Probably Chelsea (2017) can be found in the same room. It consists of 30 algorithmically generated 3-D portraits based on Chelsea Manning’s DNA installed at different human heights so as to resemble a diverse crowd. On the right: Anishinaabe artists Maria Hupfield’s work Land Solidarity that displays language and symbols of solidarity in relation to Indigenous land and territorial acknowledgements.
Actions of Art and Solidarity includes Indigenous perspectives, focuses on micro narratives of solidarity, and looks beyond the Cold War era to the present day. LA-based Colombian artist Carolina Cayacedo is one of the contributing artists with the work Mãe das aguas livres I (Mother of the Free Waters I).
There are many other works to explore in this exhibition and we look forward to welcoming our audience back as soon as we can open again.
To get the full audiovisual experience, have a listen to the Songs of Solidarity-playlist, which was launched in connection with the exhibition.