press release

Living in the Postcolonial

Colonialist powers have not only seized lands and natural resources, but also people’s ideas, belief systems, and behavioral patterns. This is as true for the once-colonized countries of the Nordic region as it is for other postcolonial societies in, for instance, Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia. If we are to understand how patterns of difference and superiority have come into being and how they continue to structure human interrelations today, we need to look at language and notions of the body in their historical, colonial context. The comprehensive exhibition project Rethinking Nordic Colonialism will do just that when it opens up the third out of four art exhibitions on Nordic colonialism in Tórshavn next week – an international event, which will be accompanied by a film program and a packed one-evening program of spoken word acts, performance, and live music.

Art Exhibition and Film Program in The Faroe Islands Art Museum

Under the header of Living (in) the Postcolonial, four artists, an artist group, and an art & theory alliance from as different places as Greenland, Malaysia, Ghana, South Korea/Scandinavia, the Faroe Islands, and Indonesia will exhibit in the Faroe Islands Art Museum for a three-week period starting May 12. As the title suggests, these participants use art in a critical way to reflect on the complex psychological and social situations that occur in the wake of colonialism and its formal termination. Above all, they take a close look at how colonial relations, i.e. relationships of difference and domination, are conceptualized, expressed, and enacted. They examine language and body politics in relation to landscape, memory, history, nation-building, gender identity, and trans-racial child adoption. The exhibiting artists are: Pia Arke (Greenland/Denmark), Nadiah Bamadhaj (Malaysia/Indonesia), Godfried Donkor (Ghana/United Kingdom), Jane Jin Kaisen & Tobias Hübinette (South Korea/Denmark & South Korea/Sweden), Rannvá Holm Mortensen (Faroe Islands), and Ruangrupa (Indonesia).

The Faroe Islands Art Museum will also host the film program Silver Screen Resistance, which features films from four decades of postcolonial criticism in cinema by acclaimed filmmakers: Stephanie Black (USA), Randi Broberg (Greenland), Laila Hansen (Greenland), Isaac Julien (United Kingdom), Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki, Canada), Pratibha Parmar (Kenya/United Kingdom), Gillo Pontecorvo (Italy), and Paul-Anders Simma (Sámi, Norway/Sweden/Finland). [For exact screening hours, please visit]

During the opening reception, Jane Jin Kaisen & Tobias Hübinette will perform the first part of their multimedia performance “Transmitting: (Dis)ComfortAN(d)AlieNation.” The second and last part will be performed on May 13 in the Nordic House. [Invitation card to the exhibition opening and a full exhibition program are attached]

Spoken Word/Performance/Music Event in The Nordic House

Interwoven with the musical meandering of Jakarta-based DJ duo HYDROXYBROMIDE, this night in the Nordic House represents a unique synthesis of critical voices from around the globe. Titled Reinventing the Postcolonial Self, the program introduces artists who resist colonialist identity models. The evening opens with artist Jane Jin Kaisen and lecturer Tobias Hübinette, who presents the second part of their multimedia performance. Following this, Cambodian Muslim American artist Anida Yoeu Esguerra will reflect on hybrid identities in an act that mixes poetry and performance. Caribbean female-to-male transsexual activist and performer Imani Henry then delivers a cabaret-style performance that sheds light on the legacy of slavery and colonization in the immigrant communities of Brooklyn. Before the night ends with an Indonesian-style dance party, the local indie punk-rock band 200 will go on stage and perform a live act campaigning for Faroese independence and a more outspoken, tolerant society. [Simultaneous interpretation will be available] [For a complete program of the evening, please visit]

The Context: Previous & Coming Acts

The first act of Rethinking Nordic Colonialism opened in Iceland in the month of March. A dozen international artists, theorists, and activists discussed the widely forgotten history of Nordic colonialism and how it continues to structure the Nordic societies today – even when it is repressed. As such, Act 1 delivered a set of analytical tools for the continued discussions on Nordic colonialism. Staged in Nuuk in April, Act 2 used those tools to create an open forum for people to formulate their feelings and thoughts on being subjects in a de-colonizing community – with the primary focus being on contemporary Greenland. Taking such lived experiences one step further, Act 3 will now discuss how language and body politics function as routers for colonial dynamics. In June, the project moves to the Sámi area of Finland, where artistic and intellectual attention will be given to aboriginal interests in a global economy.

Rethinking Nordic Colonialism is concluded with the release of a DVD Box Set at the end of the year, which documents the entire project and constitutes the project’s fifth and final act. In total, the project presents 56 participants from all over the world, who exchange colonial and postcolonial experiences and strategies during the course of the project. Rethinking Nordic Colonialism represents a first attempt at writing a comprehensive history of Nordic colonialism and involves all the Nordic countries. It is based on extraordinary partnerships between important art and culture institutions in the region and supports the incipient postcolonial studies in the Nordic region.


Rethinking Nordic Colonialism is accompanied by a free 148-pages User Guide containing a full event program as well as detailed descriptions of all the participants and their contributions. The User Guide is available in all the exhibition venues or can be acquired at Participant and program information is also be available online at


Rethinking Nordic Colonialism
A Postcolonial Exhibition Project in Five Acts
Act 3: Thorshavn, The Faroe Islands, May 12 – June 4, 2006
Living (in) the Postcolonial
kuratiert von Kuratorisk Aktion  (Frederikke Hansen & Tone Olaf Nielsen) für
NIFCA, Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art

KünstlerInnen: Pia Arke, Nadiah Bamadhaj, Godfried Donkor, Jane Jin Kaisen & Tobias Hübinette, Rannva Holm Mortensen, Ruangrupa 

Stationen "Rethinking Nordic Colonialism":
Act 1: 24.03.06 - 16.04.06 Living Art Museum, Reykjavik / Island
Act 2: 21.04.06 - 14.05.06 Greenland National Museum, Nuuk / Grönland
Act 3: 12.05.06 - 04.06.06 Faroe Islands Art Museum, Torshavn / Färöer
Act 4: 16.06.06 - 09.07.06 VRn Veturitalli, Rovaniemi / Finnland
Act 5: 25.11.06 DVD Box Set Launch in Kopenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm