Center For Art And Culture in Chicoutimi, Quebec
My father had a brain tumour in the 1990’s and after his death seven years ago he left me with the X-rays of his brain. The trees are fotografi trove the x ray as if they groove inside my fathers brain. A nerve system that through the trees and fungus connects are countries and as to awakening the spirit of him.
In 2006 the Swedish museum of etnography gave back a totem pole to the Haisla people in north west of Canada. The totem pole was carved out of a tree that the chief of the tribe had
kept as a celebration of the spirit that saved his people. It was stolen ifrom them in 1870, cut down and put in a magasin in Stockholm.
In my work I often deal witt the parts of history that we don’t want to remember. It doesn’t fit the Swedish self image to be the colonising explorer, to steal artefacts from other countries and displayed them in museums.
The image of my father’s brain connects with the skulls stolen by European explorers and scientists, from around the world, also from Canada. In the field of racial biology Sweden had some of the most devoted scientists and ideologists. To take a piece of my father is a way of dealing with our common past as well as my way to bring peace to my very personal past and to my fathers memory.
Chiqoutimi lies, like Stockholm, in the taiga boreal forest zone, which stretches along the entire northern polar circle from Japan and East Russia, across Scandinavia and Scotland to Canada’s west coast. Fir trees dominate the forest, which is relatively species-poor.
It is not hard to see that this has affected the development of both countries and the paths we have both taken during history. The industrialisation of both of our countries was reliant, for example, upon exploitation of the forest and the colonial oppression of indigenous peoples.
In the forest exists both the mythical and the political, the dangerous but beautiful, the ecological and the economic. Embedded in the forest is also the contrast to the city which becomes clearer, the more the gap between city and the rural widens, between what is perceived as the center and what is seen as periphery.
Even how the countries are perceived politically are, in any case, on the surface, similar. They are both seen as liberal, stable and hospitable with well-developed welfare and strong faith in equality and social justice. Beneath the surface, however, there are conflicts with indigenous peoples concerning land and historical oppression, and a long underground smouldering, but increasingly open, flaming racism.