Shalom Life | April 21, 2014

Danish-Norwegian Artist is Causing a Stir

Artist Nina Maria Kleivan depicts her baby as Hitler and other notorious political figures.

By: Helen Hatzis

Published: March 17th, 2010 in Culture » Art » News

Danish-Norwegian Artist is Causing a Stir

Danish-Norwegian artist Nina Maria Kleivan draws inspiration from her young daughter and history's most notorious political figures.

Klevin's exhibit "Potency" features ten photographs of her four-month-old daughter Faustina wearing outfits to mimic Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Augusto Pinochet, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Mao Zedong ,Slobodan Milosevic and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The final photo is of little Faustina naked. “We are all born as a blank slate, who knows who we will become,” shared Ms. Kleivan in an interview with the National Post. “I wanted people to think about where tremendous evil comes from.”

She justifies her work as her own father was a prisoner in a German camp (he was associated with the Norwegian resistance movement) and spoke of her hatred for the Nazis.

Klevin’s exhibit originally debuted in Sweden nine years ago and eventually sold to a private collector for US$11,000.

Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress spoke with Shalom Life and shared, “This exhibit is not new, it showed up originally some eight years ago and created a hubbub then as it has now. On the one hand, I do understand under the circumstances what the artist is trying to accomplish here. The problem I have with it is that she’s taken what could have been an interesting concept of trying to understand evil in the face of innocence, and instead created provocation by throwing a swastika on a baby and painting a little moustache above the baby's lips and then photographing the baby. This is no way to confront and deal with such a serious topic because it gets lost in the provocation."

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