PLU hosts exclusive U.S. premiere of art exhibition


TACOMA, WAPacific Lutheran University’s Scandinavian Cultural Center will host the exclusive U.S. premiere of a modern-art exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution.62a07fd2-5fcc-4c0f-bf13-724cba3a0817

During the Napoleonic war in 1814, Denmark lost control over Norway, a territory it had held for more than 300 years. Norwegian leaders quickly came together to craft a constitution that would establish their land as an independent country.
Inspired by the still-relatively new Constitution of the United States (and by older French philosophy), Norway’s constitution, signed in the mountain retreat of Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814, created a democratic government with a balanced federal authority. With only a few amendments, it has been in continuous force ever since, making it the oldest such constitution in Europe.

An exhibition celebrating this remarkable document opened on May 17, 2014 (the constitution’s 200th anniversary), at the Eidsvoll Center in Norway—and now that same exhibition will come to PLU.

The exhibition, 1814-2014: Red White and Blue–Norwegian Constitution, American Inspiration, is made up of works by 10 renowned Norwegian modern artists—together it’s a visual exploration of themes ranging from freedom and stability to the struggles facing democracy and globalization. Each of the 10 chosen artists submitted several works: bold, colorful graphics; subtle ink drawings and photographs; and oil paintings, sculptures and mixed media.

“The U.S. premiere of these specially commissioned artworks at the Scandinavian Cultural Center is a particular honor,” said Dr. Elisabeth Ida Ward, director of the SCC. “We have a deep historic connection to Norway here at PLU, but this exhibition is also about looking forward to create a more inclusive democracy today. We think it will resonate with students and the public.”

Accompanying the show is a scholarly volume of essays by leading authorities on the history and importance of the Norwegian constitution. (The book, also titled 1814-2014: Red White and Blue, is available at Garfield Book Company at PLU.) Trond B. Olsen of ArtPro, Norway, curated the exhibition and the publication, and the U.S. tour is supported by the Royal Norwegian Consulate.

The Consul of Norway in Seattle, Kim Nesselquist, facilitated the exhibition’s Tacoma premiere. “The relationship between Norway and the United States is very strong and continues to be critical for Washington state,” he said. “ It was important we get the exhibition here.”

The exhibition opens to the public at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, and runs through Sept. 28. After it closes at PLU, it will move to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where a scholarly symposium on the relationship between the constitutions of Norway and the United States will be held.

What: 1814-2014: Red White and Blue–Norwegian Constitution, American Inspiration.
Where: Scandinavian Cultural Center, on the lower level of the Anderson University Center, PLU campus.
When: 1 p.m. Aug. 24-Sept. 28. (SCC hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.)
Admission: Free.
More information:

About the photo: Copenhagen, August 1807, part of the Red White and Blue modern-art exhibition debuting at PLU on Aug. 24.


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