About the project
About the project
About the project
The bombing and massacre of 22 July 2011 constituted the worst attack suffered by Norway in peacetime. The right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik first killed eight people with a car bomb that exploded in Oslo’s government quarter. Shortly thereafter he massacred a further 69 people at the Labour Party’s youth league camp at Utøya. Breivik’s attacks were directed against institutions and values that are fundamental to Norwegian society, and against socially engaged young people. Spontaneous memorial sites and monuments appeared during the period following the attacks, such as the sea of flowers outside Oslo Cathedral and The Altar, an informal memorial at Utvika in Hole municipality, where people laid flowers, photographs and small objects in memory of those who had died.
In 2012, the government decided to establish official memorial sites to honour the victims, the survivors, the emergency services, and the many members of the public who assisted both during and after the attacks. Two memorials are planned: a permanent memorial in Hole municipality; and a temporary memorial in the government quarter, which will be replaced by a permanent memorial once reconstruction of the site is completed. Proposals were sought by means of an international pre-qualification round, followed by a closed competition. As well as artists and art experts, the competition jury included representatives of the national support group for victims of the attacks and the Labour Party youth league, along with a government-appointed member.
In February 2012, the jury announced that the winner was the Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg. Dahlberg’s proposal for the Sørbråten memorial involves physically slicing through the peninsula. The slice will create a “wound” in nature that will evoke in a concrete and brutal manner the loss of the young people killed at Utøya. The names of those who died will be engraved on one of the stone walls opened up by the “slice” through the rock.
The rock removed from the peninsula will subsequently be included in the temporary and permanent memorials in the government quarter. The memorials will be open to many different interpretations, both by people today and by future generations.
Dahlberg has said that the Oslo memorial should be “a place for the ongoing dialogue that forms the basis of tolerance – precisely what so many of those who were directly affected by the attacks were so passionately engaged in.”
While the out-of-the-way location of the Sørbråten memorial will encourage peaceful contemplation, the memorial in Oslo will be much more readily accessible and will probably become the site of official commemorations.
The memorial sites have aroused strong emotions and opinions. The controversy over the memorial site in Hole municipality has caused the matter to be handled at a national political, rather than administrative, level. The government had announced that plans for the artwork and its location would remain unchanged, but that it wished to engage in a constructive dialogue with affected parties, and to ensure that the process of constructing the memorial was dignified.
On 16 March 2016, the government decided that the national memorial site to commemorate the victims of the terror attacks of 22 July 2011 should be completed at Sørbråten in Hole municipality in 2017.
Nora Ceciliedatter Nerdrum, Project Manager, Public Art Norway (KORO)
Art consultant/Art Committee
Jørn Mortensen, Leader of the Art Selection Committee/Art Consultant for Public Art Norway (KORO)
Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverrbakk, Art Consultant for Public Art Norway (KORO)
Bente Erichsen, Government Representative
Mari Aaby West, Representative for The Workers’ Youth League (AUF)
John Hestnes, Representative for the national July 22 support group
Magne Magler Wiggen, Architect
Jo Ulletveit-Moe, representative for Statsbygg [Public Construction and Property Management]
Art scheme for new government-owned buildings