Espace Medina, Dakar, Senegal
In February 2022, I was on a one-month residency at the Waaw Institute of Art in Saint-Louis Senegal. After a long road trip from Dakar, the first thing that greeted me in Saint-Louis was a trampled fur-covered Gucci sandal. A motif that for me has many layers of content, and which in a way summed up my entire stay. This was my fifth stay in Africa, but culturally this has been the most different.
The intention for the stay in Saint-Louis was to work with post-colonial architecture as well murals. After a few days, I quickly became interested in people’s sense of fashion and the generally well-dressed population. I experienced the extensive use of replicas of luxury brands from the big fashion houses in Europe as a kind of democratization of fashion – a freedom in the unregulated. This is a big contrast to Norway, where everything is so regulated, and the sale of fashion replicas is prohibited. But it is not only fashion that is unregulated, mostly the whole of society consists of small micro-businesses, such as baguettes sales from the trunk of a car, pop-up cafes/restaurants everywhere imaginable, itinerant tailors. I see this micro-enterprises as a way of taking control of one’s own situation. From my point of view, it is perceived as freedom – but from an outside perspective our welfare society Norway will be perceived as free. Because we have the freedom to choose.
My exhibition in Espace Medina consisted of processing the material I collected in Saint-Louis – through the painting I tried to show a visual essence of my experiences, and my perspective: My perspective as a Western European and as a woman. The Exhibition consisted of fourteen paintings and a photobook.