The project started with curiosity and a longing to create conversational piece. After reading about the Swedish colony of Saint Barthelemy that existed for nearly a century, I started to get interested in this symbolically suppressed part of history.
Gothenburg has been a central point for trading goods between Sweden and France for centuries. On the 1st of July 1784 the tiny French Caribbean island Saint Barthelemy became a Swedish possession and it has been under Swedish control until 1878 when Gustav III sold it back to France. Now there is no memory of the colony that inhabited a 24 square kilometre island and its imperial capital Gustavia.
Inspired by Gustav Metzger’s Historic Photographs I wanted to comment on the shameful aspect of the history and invite the viewers to get closer to the event which is reminded to them both literally and metaphorically. I am interested in provoking a discussion around the meaning of the presence of Saint Barthelemy in Swedish history. The work is left alone, just like a small island somewhere in the Caribbean, posing questions and not necessarily providing any answers.
The text included in the work is part of Klas Rönnbäck’s Traces of ignominy. Gothenburg’s French block and Sweden’s hunt for colonies. (2012)