Elin Berge Drottninglandet
March 21 - May 24 2009
Elin Berge has devoted years to documenting the destinies of a number of women who live along what is known as Sju Älvars Väg ("The Road of the Seven Rivers") in the province of Västerbotten in northeastern Sweden, running between Umeå and Fredrika. These live under different conditions and are at different phases of their lives, but with one major factor in common: they all moved from Thailand to Sweden to live with a Swedish man. Elin Berge has carried out her project in close collaboration with Frida Hyvönen, composer and vocalist. The music for Drottninglandet is part of a series entitled Frida Hyvönen gives you, in which she experiments freely with a wide range of artistic forms of expression.
The title of this exhibition, Drottninglandet, (Queen Country), has many depths. Elin Berge's own comments on the project were: ”Drottninglandet is a narrative of longing, and the dream of a better life. The area around Fredrika has traditionally been known as "Drottninglandet" because a number of villages there bear the name of queens of Sweden. Nearly all the women I have worked with are from a poor region in northeastern Thailand, an area many women who grow up there have to leave to find work. They move to the cities, the tourist destinations, or abroad. That is how some of them end up in Sweden. Thailand is traditionally known as "the Kingdom" and, like so many other countries, is a place where men and women live under very different conditions. So my title is symbolic, standing for all the things I imagine these women were dreaming of when they suddenly had the opportunity to move to Sweden."
The exhibition Drottninglandet has been produced in collaboration by the Hasselblad Foundation and two museums: Arbetets Museum (The Museum of Work) in Norrköping and Västerbottens museum in Umeå.