A 'radical and brave' proposal

Friday 07 Mar 2014

Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg creates cleft on Sørbråten peninsula as July 22 Memorial

In July 2011, Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik launched attacks on government officials in Oslo and attendees of a summer camp organised by the Norwegian Labour Party on the island of Utøya, taking the lives of 77 people and injuring at least 319 more. He was sentenced to 21 years of preventative detention for his crimes in 2012.

A design competition was launched in recognition of all who lost their lives or were affected by the atrocities in Oslo and Utøya, challenging entrants to devise a fitting tribute in their honour. The competition has been won by Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg who has suggested removing a 3.5m-wide slice of land at Søbråten (opposite Utøya) and reusing it in the construction of a second memorial at the Government Quarter in Oslo.

The incision in the ground at Søbråten is intended to be seen as a symbolic wound in recognition of those lost in the tragedy. The gap will be 3.5m-wide and reach from the top of the headland to below the waterline so that the land beyond it is inaccessible. The names of those who died will be etched into the rock to be viewed by visitors to the site.

A statement from the jury reads: “The Jury considers Dahlberg’s proposal for Søbråten as artistically highly original and interesting. It is capable of conveying and confronting the trauma and loss that the 22 July events resulting in a daring way. The proposal is radical and brave, and evokes the tragic events in a physical and direct manner.”

Dahlberg’s winning concept suggests the relocation of the excavated landmass to the site of the first attack - a car bomb at in the Government Quarter in Oslo. This material will be used to create a temporary memorial pathway between Grubbegata and the Deichmanske Library with the names of those killed recorded on a wall that runs along the path. Trees from Søbråten are to be relocated to Oslo for the creation of a permanent memorial at a later date. 

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