Shared History – Can history-making be made more inclusive?

5 May 2018 19 August 2018

Group Exhibition
The project rooms, Färgfabriken

Participants: Vanja Sandell Billström, Reza Hazare, Valeria Montti Colque, Hala Alnaji, Ibrahim Mouhann, Agnieszka Wołodźko, Gabriel Maher, Isabel Mager

What happens when we break the chronological interpretation of history? Can history-making be made more inclusive? 

How can current historical events be interpreted and portrayed? Can culture save Europe from its current identity crisis?

Shared History is an EU-funded project that brings together newly arrived and established artists in the Baltic Sea Region. The artists’ views do not necessarily need to correspond to each other, but they must be able to relate to each other when they explore critical methods of narrative and co-creation in a time of polarized discussions of history and identity.

Exhibition at Färgfabriken

The exhibition Shared History shows two installations processed during several months of collaboration between the artist Valeria Montti Colque and the architect Hala Alnaji, as well as the artists Vanja Sandell Billström and Reza Hazare.

Hala Alnaji and Valeria Montti exploress how the relationship with nature is connected with integration and with people’s thoughts and dreams of feeling at home. What does the ”Swedish nature” mean to those who recently arrived in Sweden?

Vanja Sandell Billström and Reza Hazare creates a collective view based on questions of privilege, responsibility and how both memories and bodies are deformed by living under pressure as a result of stress and refuge.

The exhibition also displays Ibrahim Muhanna’s film UnderWeAre, produced by The Baltic Sea Cultural Center in Gdansk after a close exhange of ideas with artist Agnieszka Wołodźko, and also a documentary film about their collaboration and respective artistic outcomes.

The designers Gabriel Maher and Isabel Mager have made a graphic design concept that is a deconstruction of the project application to the Creative Europe Progeamme of the European Union . By dissecting the bureaucratic graphical interface, the idea of measurable culture and its instrumental purpose is reveiled.

About the artists

Vanja Sandell Billström (born 1983 in Stockholm, where she lives and works) received her artistic training at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and works as an artist and filmmaker. In her latest work, Sandell Billström mainly explores issues concerning community and seclusion.

Reza Hazare (born 1987 in Zahedan, Iran, a citizen of Afghanistan, lives and works in Stockholm) is educated at the Visual Arts School of Tehran and the Azerbaijan State Academy of Arts. Hazare works mainly with drawing, painting and sculpture, and in his art explores among other things, the human psyche, history and visual traditions.

Valeria Montti Colque (born 1978 in Stockholm, where she lives and works) is educated at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and in her art she touches themes of power, violence, dreams and popular culture. Montti Colque works with sculpture, video, drawing and painting.

Hala Alnaji (born 1988 in Gaza, Palestine, lives and works in Stockholm) is an architect but also works with artistic methods, primarily with themes relating to architecture and society. Alnaji is educated at The Islamic Univesity Gaza and Sheffield Hallam University. Right now she is studying the post-master course “Decolonizing Architecture” at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.

Ibrahim Mouhanna (born in Damascus, Syria, lives and works in Stockholm) is a filmmaker and journalist and educated at The Media University in Damascus, Syria. The film UnderWeAre focuses on themes of control and power based on a deep personal, internal dialogue.

Agnieszka Wołodźko (born 1961 in Gdańsk, where she lives and works) is educated at The Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk and works with many different media, including curating, photography, installations, sounds and workshops. Wołodźko is also a writer and author, focusing on art and culture.

About the project Shared History

By creating space for creative and critical dialogue for artists, writers and thinkers, Shared History aims to explore history and storytelling as a process of participation and interpretation, rather than a set of solid facts. In addition to the title of this project, “shared history” is a new interdisciplinary field in history that examines connections rather than boundaries and chronology, a starting point that provides an opportunity to shed new light on the issues with an unexpected perspective.

Shared History is a cross-disciplinary project with the goal of critically connecting and artistically interpreting the different reactions on the refugee situation that are strongly affecting, shaping and dividing the European Union, on both a political and domestic level. With a Baltic scope, the project’s creative research process will approach issues such as policy making, judicial and geographical borders, statistics, identity, public opinion and post-truth information related to migration and integration in Sweden, Poland and Latvia


The project is realised in collaboration between Färgfabriken, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Riga and The Baltic Sea Cultural Centre, Gdansk.Co-funded by the Crative Europe Programme of the Eeuropean Union, the Cultural administration at Stockholm County Council, the Municipality of Stockholm and the Swedish Arts Council.