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Reciprocally Yours 2019
Exhibited in the group exhibition "With eyes closed, call me" at Bergen Kunsthall 2019.

This series of painted images of hand gestures contains rituals, that are done with smiles and exchange of positive words as part of the ceremonial meetings. Even though being democratically elected, they enter deals that are out of reach and are done above the heads of their voters. Together with allied countries, they operate within blurred borders of international peacekeeping and national financial self interests. Making deals that leads to the suffering of others, and in reality is a violation of international law. The interests of gaining access to low cost natural resources, and money transfers presented as aid for social development or protection of the environment, in reality becomes bribes of dictatorships, and fuels arms trade and proxy wars.

Norway has since 2010 been classified as the world's most democratic, by Democracy Index (EIU). It makes sense concerning domestic politics, but the Norwegian foreign policy makes a sharp contrast to that image. Honest, hard earned tax money is being mixed with a soup of highly unethical investments. It becomes our welfare (public funding), and it is impossible as a citizen to avoid being involved.



The title "Recipocally Yours" is a reflection on the speech of President Donald Trump , at a joint press conference with Prime minister Erna Solberg 10th of January 2018. https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/prime-minister-erna-solberg-to-meet-president-donald-trump/id2584310/
I intend to play with the formal business greeting "sincerely yours". The meaning, or more specifically, - how sincere is it really? A greeting, that with the type of politics mentioned in my motivation text, quickly goes from "sincerely yours" to the insult "up yours", as soon as the deal is not completely win-win to one self.

The Norwegian Crown Prince Håkon and King Salman of Saudi Arabia attending the funeral of king Abdullah in January 2015. The Norwegian government rarely send members of the royal family to dictatorships, unless there are huge trade deals at stake. Even though the Norwegian government claims to comment on human rights issues, the trade continues like before.

The Norwegian Minister of foreign affairs Børge Brende and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, signed in January 2017 an agreement of collaboration on science and innovation. Since the conservative Norwegian government got power in October 2013, the Norwegian trade with Israel expanded significantly. According to the Norwegian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce, during 2017 Israel made more than a 100 billion Dollars in total on export for the very first time. It does not mention a specific number for Norway.

Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg and President Donald Trump at a White House meeting April 2017. Where they said they had a productive discussion about counterterrorism partnership. Also Trump mentioning the changes of the North Atlantic Pact, and the old agreement to be obsolete.

Ministers of defence James Mattis and Frank Bakke Jensen November 2017 at a NATO meeting. Together with the other NATO countries (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), establishing agreements of adjustments to the North Atlantic pact. James Mattis, nick named mad dog, left his position January 2019, prior to the plan. He was replaced by Patrick Shanahan, which has no military experience, but was employed more than 30 years in The Boeing aircraft company.

Prime minister Erna Solberg and President Donald Trump at a press conference in The White House January 2018 (video above), talking as important military allied and trade partners. Prime minister Solberg kept on smiling while Trump said "we have to have the wall". A Norwegian journalist then asked about a comment from General Robert Neller, who said during the NATO exercise Trident Juncture in Norway 2018, that there will be a war, - a "big ass fight" coming. Trump joked about it and said - "well maybe he knows something that I don't know", an then pointed out the rapidly growing US military.