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“To create works that look back at the viewer is a way to refuse to be made into an object and to say: I see you”. Growing up in Norway Frida Orupabo was hungry for images that would resemble her. Today she works with found images in order to create new realities that reflect who she is.
Frida Orupabo grew up in a small town in Norway in the 1980ies and back then there were very few people that looked like Frida Orupabo and her sister. “Most people were white, and you didn’t realize that there was a skin problem, but you easily realized that when you started kindergarten and people noticed you are brown.” Orupabo was met with questions like “where do you come from”, “and I said: I come from Norway. ‘Yes, but where are you really from’. That affected the way I view myself and shaped the understanding of myself.”
“As I grew older, I got more interested in images and started to work with images and collect images that spoke to my own identity. For me, that complex understanding of identity, who you really are, was very important. So, you are trying to find that out, not by writing but by being creative.”
Frida Orupabo didn’t have a knowledge of what she was doing. “The reflections started when I started to exhibit my work and started to get questions about my work. Then I was forced to reflect on why I am spending hours in front of the screen finding things, storing things, then manipulating, cutting them up, and then putting things together again. I think the search was a kind of hunger, I was hungry for images that would resemble me. We didn’t have such images in my childhood home and when I started to have access to it, I got crazy. And access to the internet further fueled that hunger. I started to work with collages without thinking about them as collages. I had a need to manipulate and create new realities”, she says.
Frida Orupabo (born 1986) was brought up in Sarpsborg, Norway, and lives and works in Oslo. She is a sociologist and artist living and working in Oslo, Norway. Her work consists of digital and physical collages in various forms, which explore questions related to race, family relations, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity. Her work has been presented at museums and exhibition spaces all over the world. Orupabo’s work is included in prominent collections such as The Guggenheim Museum, USA, Studio Museum in Harlem, USA, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, Museum Ludwig, Germany, Moderna Museet, Sweden, Mumok, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Austria, Nasjonalmuseet, Norway, and LACMA, USA. Check out her website: https://fridaorupabo.com
Christian Lund interviewed Frida Orupabo in her home in Oslo, Norway November 2021.
Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edit: Signe Boe Pedersen
Produced by Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2022
Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen.
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