Theresa Traore Dahlberg at Kalmar Art Museum, Kalmar, Sweden: Solo-exhibition

Kalmar Art Museum 13 February - 16 May 2021
Kalmar Art Museum

The exhibition Transitions is a room for reflection about our time and the transient value of labour. It portrays the meeting between industry and craft, between analogue and digital and also between geographically separated parts of the world – interconnected through growing industry and global ownership. On a personal level, these meetings become an expression of Theresa Traore Dahlberg’s multiple cultural identities, in light of a childhood spent between the little village of Skogsby on Öland, and the sprawling city of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.


Transitions is a recurring theme through the exhibition – the relationship between people and industrial production where the materials, circuit boards, cassette tapes and cement, have become obsolete. Sometimes it is due to a financial decision to move production from one part of the world to another. At other times technology has moved forward, leaving behind an item without economic value.


For the exhibition at Kalmar konstmuseum, Theresa Traore Dahlberg has produced a new film Microcement – a poetic depiction of the daily work at Cementa in Degerhamn on Öland, where large parts of the production was recently moved to Gotland, meaning the majority of the employees lost their jobs. The film focuses on the seven people who remain, keeping production on a small scale going. While operations were being cut back in Degerhamn, a new cement factory opened in Burkina Faso. A flight over the area shows an industrial estate interchangeable with its Swedish counterpart.


Through Theresa Traore Dahlberg’s work we notice how interlinked with are, geographically in a shrinking world, but also in the workplace, in the pride in and identification with our work.


The exhibition Transitions leaves space for valuing that which becomes invisible in production; craft and the physical process. The respect that permeates these accounts allows discarded products and neglected places a sense of worth, not just for the role they once played, but for the significance they have in how we view ourselves and our relationships, both near and global.


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