On 17 January at 6.30 p.m, the international group exhibition “Stories of Belonging. Contemporary Art from Sweden” will open in the Tartu Art Museum. The exhibition brings some of the most significant authors and works from our western neighbours to Tartu, focusing on the social problems related to belonging and being excluded in Sweden and elsewhere.
Sweden is known as a country that invests heavily in the welfare and equality of its people. The country has also had a very open immigration policy and has accepted a large number of refugees in the recent past (peaking in 2015). Despite this, people with foreign backgrounds or different ways of life have to daily face such problems as difficulties in adaptation, exclusion, discrimination etc. These problems are also important to many artists. Through their works, they express their emotions or personal experiences and try to raise awareness of the situation of minority groups and those who are excluded.
Even though this is an exhibition of Swedish art, the participating artists have very different backgrounds, including being immigrants, artists born in Sweden as children of immigrant parents and being from families who have been Swedish citizens for generations. “As curators, we faced the dilemma of whom to count as Swedish artists in a multicultural society. We decided to focus on locality or on being active in Swedish contemporary art life and not on birth country or citizenship,” the curators explained.
Introducing foreign art has an important place in the exhibition programme of the Tartu Art Museum. Although the exhibition focusses on Swedish art and its context, the themes of belonging and exclusion are universal. They are open to interpretation, drawing parallels and identification from the position of the local viewer.
The educational programme that accompanies the exhibition will include a bullying prevention programme in co-operation with the Bullying-free School and the Art Museum of Estonia, put together by Eliis Vaino.
The exhibition is accompanied by an Estonian and English catalogue that contains texts covering the concepts of the exhibition and the backgrounds of the exhibited works of both Estonian and Swedish authors.
The exhibition “Stories of Belonging. Contemporary Art from Sweden” will remain open until 5 May 2019.
Participating artists: Meira Ahmemulic, Meriç Algün, Sahar Al-Khateeb, Annika Eriksson, Santiago Mostyn, Tova Mozard, Sirous Namazi, Dana Sederowsky
Curators: Joanna Hoffmann, Hanna-Liis Kont
Co-ordinator: Kristlyn Liier
Educational programme: Kristel Sibul and Eliis Vaino in collaboration with Bully-free School and the Art Museum of Estonia
Graphic and exhibition design: Norman Orro
Exhibition consultant: Renée Padt
Catalogue co-authors: Meira Ahmemulic, Frida Sandström, Keiu Virro
Exhibition team: Indrek Aavik, Nele Ambos, Indrek Grigor, Margus Joonsalu, Maria Johanna Kull, Heiti Kulmar, Jaanika Kuznetsova, Kristlyn Liier, Kristel Sibul, Kristo Tamm, Peeter Talvistu, Ago Teedema, Urmo Teekivi
Thanks: Lena Malm, Merike Karolin and Tartu Public Library
The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Estonian Ministry of Culture, the Estonian Librarians Association and Iaspis (the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s international programme for Visual and Applied Artists), Embassy of Sweden