The exhibition Unfinished Histories delves into history negotiated through memories, interpretations and hearsay. It speaks of a complex relation to history as a narrative that is never fixed nor complete but still affects us and the world we live in. We reach into these ambiguous landscapes of histories, shaped by a diversity of perspectives and ask ourselves, what has been displaced or forgotten. And can we use our findings to reimagine a future?
The exhibition has grown out of a collaboration between Abir Boukhari, curator and co- founder of AllArtNow, and Anneli Bäckman, curator at Botkyrka Konsthall.
Memory and text are interwoven in the work of Ulla West. The act of writing brings histories into being, but the readability is challenged by the many layers of perspectives and positions. A family secret is hidden among rumours that form alternative histories. What is true and what is false? The artist’s work is a process of filling in the gaps between the told and the untold.
How can our understanding of a place be informed by misunderstandings, rumours and urban myths? Seher Uysal’s video work retells the story of a legendary cold winter in 1954 that allegedly caused the Bosporus in Istanbul to freeze over, allowing people to walk across the strait. The artist investigates how hearsay and rumours that were circulating at the time, still have an impact on memory and the understanding of a place today.
Matti Aikio’s archive is an ongoing process in which the artist raises a Sami perspective in the struggle between an indigenous relationship with nature and the nation state’s definition of nature as something that should either be preserved or exploited for economic gain. A history that today sees its conflict in predator politics and exploitation of natural resources. The multimedia installation is a layering of thoughts and reflections where oral histories and knowledge together form a conversation on indigenous self- determination.
In a series of paintings, Filippa Arrias traces her family history that takes its point of departure in Suriname, a country deeply embedded in a colonial history that has brought about the most ethnically diverse population in the region. Fictional memories and fantasies about a place are interwoven with historical events and family stories. Through found archival material, online sources and her own imaginations about her relatives’ lives and destinies, the artist explores how identity is shaped by histories.