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New Exhibition by Norwegian Artists at Vesterheim Explores Cultural Identity

Wed, Sep 3rd, 2014
Posted in All Arts & Culture

DECORAH, Iowa — A new exhibition, “A Restored Connection: A Dream of a Cultural Identity,” will go on view at Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center, on September 12. There will be an opening reception that evening from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., with a gallery talk by guest curators and Norwegian-born artists, Line Anda Dalmar and Regina Osbakk at 5:30 p.m. The exhibition is sponsored by an anonymous donor and Mary Mills Dunea of Osage, Iowa.

Through still and moving images, “A Restored Connection” explores how we define ourselves and the environment around us. “Although it features Norwegian Americans, visitors of all backgrounds will easily relate to the exhibition and its message of connection,” Laurann Gilberton, Vesterheim’s Chief Curator, said.

The exhibition was developed from a research-based art project that began in 2011 as a collaboration between Dalmar and Osbakk. The project examines how national identity occurs, and how it is inherited and transformed through generations. The aim of the project is to explore the human need for knowledge and a connection to one’s own culture and history.

Their research has been translated into three artworks that show how attachment to a particular culture appears in a multicultural society. The first piece is a video series featuring a Norwegian-American family living near Northfield, Minnesota. The second piece is a collection of snapshots taken in Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota, which capture expressions of Norwegian identity through clothing, festivals, and food. The third piece includes fifty portraits of Norwegian-American children and young adults with Norwegian first names.

Osbakk holds a BFA in Printmaking. Dalmar has a BFA in Photography and an MFA in Art. Their work has previously been exhibited in Berlin, Germany; Kristiansand, Norway; and Iowa City, Iowa.

With 24,000 objects and 12 historic buildings, Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center in Decorah, Iowa, shares the most comprehensive collection of Norwegian-American artifacts in the world. This treasure is also a center for folk-art education, offering a wide variety of classes in authentic Norwegian folk art every year. For more information on the museum’s exhibitions, classes, events, membership opportunities, and ways to donate, check Vesterheim’s website at, call (563) 382-9681, or write to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 502 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379.

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