Artist talk with Minna Henriksson, in Riga.

On March 16 2018, The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art hosted an artist talk by Minna Henriksson, as a way to open up the process of the Shared History project for the public in Riga, before the actual exhibtion took place.

In her talk, Henriksson focused on her practice and the work ‘Unfolding Nordic Race Science’ which is based on research in the archives and collections of museums. She did this research-based work together with the archaeologist Fredrik Svanberg at the Swedish History Museum in 2016-2017 dealing with the topic of race science in the Nordic countries. The time span under examination was the 1850s up to 1945, and as a result Henriksson created an art installation in the permanent collection of the museum, addressing largely under-researched questions and connections in the context of the Nordic countries.

Until the 1970s The Swedish Historical Museum had a display of skull categorization that has historically been a basis for the arguments for superiority of the Aryan race, also related to Nazism. The talk will reveal the involvement of certain historical personalities – scientists and researchers, and their role in forming the race science, as well as the question how artistic practices nowadays can speak about complex issues of the past and address their echoes today.

Minna Henriksson (b. 1976) is a visual artist who lives and works in Helsinki. Her work is often collaborative, and relates to the anti-racist, leftist and feminist struggles. Among her recent works are also investigation into the swastika symbol in Finland and its uses and meanings. Henriksson co-edited book Art Workers - Material Conditions and Labour Struggles in Contemporary Art Practice. She has taken part in many international exhibitions like MOMENTUM Biennale (2015), exhibitions at SALT, Istanbul (2015) and de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam (2016). In 2017 Henriksson was awarded with the Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Award of artistic work committed to the ideal of democracy and antifascism.

The talk by Minna Henriksson took place within the project “Shared History”, supported by the EU Creative Europe Programme. It was followed by a Q&A involving a discussion over how the discipline of ‘shared history’ can help unfolding the issues raised within her talk.

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