“The daily round on the farm has given me knowledge of the labor and life my great grandmother must have lived,” Kristi wrote about this exhibition created for the 150th anniversary of the major emigration of Norwegians from their homeland. After being on exhibit in Norway for several months, it was shipped to the USA where it was featured in galleries in Decorah, Iowa, St. Paul, MN, Moorhead, MN, and Seattle, WA. It was then purchased by the Norwegian Emigrant Museum, Hamer, Norway.
1. Mother of Generations
2. On your small Norwegian farm
3. Thriving with work, your fingers willing (detail)
4. Radiating warmth of heart and hearth
5 The mountain side you swiftly scaled
8 And intertwining with nature
10. A dwelling midst awesome views
11. From ancient huts came calls
13. Strong hands milked soft udders
14. In your eyes lay longing
17 To help them pack their trunks
18 Threads once woven, then pulled free
19. Threads we descendants now reweave
About the Exhibit
When we use the word, “emigrant,” we usually see a man, but of course women and children emigrated as well. And some stayed behind. In this exhibition the artist wishes to clarify the role of those women who didn’t leave, but who just the same were the foundation upon which emigration was based; the ones who stayed home sat there years later with a letter in hand. Everything that woman wrote to her children is an answer to the questions not asked, and in these answers lie her questions. And today, we only have the yellowing photograph, hidden and forgotten, some letters no one can read anymore, names which are only legends from remembrances of lives past. It is that woman whom the artist wished to honor in her work.
When looking for our past, we seldom can prove a mighty ancestry. Usually we find our past in working people from land and sea, those who did not get their names in the histories, but who even so, were the ones who made that history. They cannot provide us with a castle or a palace, but with a boat landing or a stone wall that they laid up while clearing the land, or the stone where they rested when walking into the summer mountains. Is this wish for ancestry only sentimentality or worse, a philosophy of race and origin of species? Well, everything can be misused, but as we do not know where we are going, we will all seek a history, an origin, a place to be from. And it’s not because we want to be better than anyone else. Rather it is because we want to feel better about ourselves. So tread quietly on the old paths if you wish to hear those who walked before you.
(Taken from the exhibition booklet, 1994)
Biletliste/List of Works