On view through October 10, 2021, the new exhibition « The Weight of Silence » is curated by Jonelle Twum and Ulrika Flink and produced in collaboration between the Whose Museum, Malmö Stad, and the Swedish Arts Council.
« The Weight of Silence » is the latest exhibition of artist Ina Nian‘s retiring archive, making explicit Sweden’s relationship to enslavement and its consequences through the country’s iron ore production.
Based on documented archival research on Sweden’s interests in the history of slavery, a little thing extremely elusive, allegorically and in a real sense. Artist Ina Nian relates that the real leads are found in the comments, the lists of sources, the non-contextualized figures, and in the words that open up new worlds.
Each section of the chronicles comes together to highlight the willful forgetting of a set of experiences that shape the mental vision of Sweden as a « conscience du monde ».
The artist reminds us with « The Weight of Silence » that iron provides a set of experiences and methods of cruelty, as well as a currency of exchange of Atlantic slaves. Sweden is generally not associated with this experience, but remains the leading exporter of metallic iron, with beneficial returns.
Swedish iron ore tariffs were a reliable part of the slave trade until its legitimate abolition in 1807. This custom of the iron metal tariff went beyond the transoceanic slave trade to add to the war economy and the rearmament of Nazi Germany, (re)building Sweden’s economy as we know it today.
In this exhibition, Ina Nian uses many mediums: video, installations, texts, sounds, to inspect her cycle in the archives and its aftermath. But also the mechanism of iron to raise questions about the role of Sweden in the transatlantic slave trade, and especially what it reveals and hides.
Artist Ina Nian contextualizes this set of experiments within her creative practice, « Black Noise », a low-recurrence sound that stages encounters of hostility to prejudice and darkness on a frequency level.
« The Weight of Silence » is on view through October 10, 2021 at the Whose Museum, Sweden.