100% FOREIGN? is a large-scale documentary art project, which is constantly being built up to 300 portraits, 300 interviews and 300 voices belonging to 300 statistically selected citizens who have come to Denmark as refugees since 1956.
With the support of the Nordea Foundation and the individual partners / municipalities, the large urban exhibition expands with the first 100 portraits to 20 cities across the country in 2018 and 2019 and is extended for each city with 10 portraits of local former refugees.
Hereby, the representation of Denmark is updated with a nuanced and diverse story. All 300 portraits are continuously collected in the live archive at the website. 100% FOREIGN? writes new chapters to Denmark’s history. Over the next two years, personal stories will be collected and displayed of up to 300 former refugees when the documentary art project goes on a tour to 20 cities.
Perceptionists regularly try to capture Danish culture through references to a special kind of food, leisure activities, historical events and Danish landscapes. But it is getting more difficult to create a story that is characteristic to Denmark, and at the same time community forming.
However, it is rare we ask the people the Danish debate includes, what they think about it. 100% FOREIGN? does that.
100% FOREIGN? are 100 very different stories about being a refugee in Denmark today. They show how nationality is only one of many reasons to feel foreign, pointing to what we have in common across social, cultural and national boundaries.
We regularly have openings of the exhibition and school courses, where participants from 100% FOREIGN? tells their story.
THE HISTORY OF 100% FOREIGN?
100% FOREIGN? is a documentary art project with 100 portraits and 100 texts of 100 citizens, which statistically represent the 161,000 people who have been granted asylum in Denmark since 1956.
In recent years, the refugee debate has dominated the media image. First, there were focus on those who arrived, while the eyes are now aimed at those who are here. The question which is constantly asked is how Danish or “foreign” these people are.
With 100% FOREIGN? 100 previous refugees in Denmark respond to this hypocritical question, with 100 complex and widely different stories of being human in Denmark today – foreign or not. Stories of belongings, longings and dreams, reminiscent of people and places, attitudes to society, gender, culture and religion. Nationality is only one of many parameters for feeling foreign.
All portraits were created in Tivoli – An entertainment park and national klenodie, which since 1843 has represented Danes and foreigners with equal curiosity, tribute, forsimpling and displacement. A mirror of and at the same time a slope from the outside world where guests can play with their personal as well as their national identity for a while.
With 100% FOREIGN? the hundreds of former refugees takes part themselves in the storytelling. In the pictures Tivoli works as an old-fashioned photo studio, where the participants dress well, choosing their own background and posing with the people and objects that matter most to them. With the park’s myriad of colors, figures, symbols and materials, the images try to escape the narrative of refugees as “victims” of their destiny.
Participants are selected on the basis of four statistical criteria: country of origin, gender, year of arrival in Denmark and family reunification as well as diversity in political, religious, ethnic and professional backgrounds.
100% FOREIGN? is the first major art-documentary collection of this population’s personal accounts. The 100 stories have been handed over to Copenhagen City Archives, thus paving the way for a new and more representative history writing.
The project was created by Metropolis / Copenhagen International Theatre and Maja Nydal Eriksen. 100% FOREIGN? is part of the Copenhagen International Theatre’s Metropolis project, which creates and presents art in, with and for Copenhagen, by processing the invisible stories of the city.
Who is behind the project?
Produced by Metropolis / Copenhagen International Theatre
Exhibition concept and photos: Maja Nydal Eriksen
Interviews, texts, research: Mette Katrine Balle Jensen and Sisse Nat-George
Exhibition layout: Elisavet Papageorgiou
Tour Coordination: Louisa Thorning Blindbæk
Communications: Sunna Reitov Korpe
Exhibition production supported by the State Art Foundation, City of Copenhagen, Sportgoodfonden, Intercultural Center and Knud Højgaards Fond
Tour and activities 2018-19 supported by the Nordea Foundation and the individual municipalities / partners
Thanks to the Danish Refugee Council, The Danish Language Centers, the Council of Ethnic Minorities, University of Copenhagen and the World Cultural Center
The exhibition 100% FOREIGN? was created in 2017 to Metropolis and was shown at e.g. Copenhagen City Hall and in an outdoor urban space in Copenhagen where it was seen by more than 100,000 people. Based on the success, the Nordea Foundation chose to support the expansion of the exhibition with a tour and up to 200 new portraits in 2018-19.
Afghanistan (11), Armenia (1), Bangladesh (1), Bosnia and Herzegovina (6), Burundi (1), Chile (1), Colombia (1), DR Congo (1), Eritrea (3), Ethiopia 1), Indonesia (1), Iraq (14), Iran (7), Yugoslavia (1), China (1), Kosovo (1), Pakistan (1), Poland (2), Russia (1), Rwanda 1), Somalia (7), Sri Lanka (5), Stateless (9), Sudan (1), Syria (11), Czechoslovakia (1), Turkey (1), Hungary (1), Vietnam
Participants are selected based on figures obtained from Statistics Denmark in terms of country of origin, gender, year of arrival and family reunification. As a starting point, 1 participant represents 1600 refugees. Some numbers are rounded down while others are rounded up to reach 1%.
Metropolis / Copenhagen International Theatre is the driving force of the interdisciplinary international performing arts in Denmark and has since 1981 produced more than 50 international festivals, workshops, seminars, showcases and much more, including the many Images festivals focusing on artists from Africa, the Middle East, etc.
About Maja Nydal Eriksen
Maja Nydal Eriksen (born 1983) is a trained photographer and cultural producer. Her work challenges and resets archives and media presentations, which are based on co-operation with the participants. This process can take several months and is the key to framing the cultural conditions – physical, social, subconscious wishes and challenges of a place or group of people.