Edvard Grieg - Art and Identity at the Kennedy Center

As a part of Norway’s Centennial Anniversary, an extensive Edvard Grieg exhibition is staged at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center.

Edvard Grieg - Art and Identity

On November 22, the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., opens a free exhibit about Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg's life and music. The focus of the exhibit is Grieg's importance for the Norwegian national identity as he struggled to become a national composer and contributed in building a new nation by the use of music.

When Edvard Grieg was only 20 years old, he got a dream about becoming a national composer; At the age of 62, in the dramatic year of 1905, the dream was realized as Norway won it's independence from Sweden. Grieg searched for the "genuine Norwegian" in his compositions, and by this he contributed in the building of a new nation. This cultural platform had decisive importance for Grieg's artistic and musical development, and helped him compose his masterpieces.

The purpose of this exhibition is not to give a picture of Norwegian identity in our own time and the Norwegian society of today. It is about exploring the importance of art for nation-building and identity, and it uses Edvard Grieg's life and music as an example. The exhibition looks back on a time when Norwegians were greatly concerned with finding and cultivating something that was “genuinely Norwegian”, which they felt had been lost after centuries of foreign rule. Art was used purposefully, as a tool for drawing new dividing lines between us and them.

In today's multicultural societies, we should be striving to do the exact opposite, in other words to bring groups and individuals together - and using art to build meeting places and bridges. Nation-building can never be a closed chapter, but is a continual process of binding people together and building good “neighbourhoods”. Even if today's challenges are different from those of 100 years ago, the exhibition illustrates how art can be used to create a sense of belonging and support for common goals.

The Grieg exhibition is an international touring exhibition from Edvard Grieg Museum at Troldhaugen, Bergen, and Bergen Public Library, The Grieg Archives, Bergen, Norway.

When: 22 November - 18 December 2005, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Terrace Gallery, 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20566.

Tickets: Admission free

More info: http://www.kennedy-center.org/index.cfm

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