Estemer

World war II left deep scars in Finnmark and the northmost parts of Troms. When the German forces withdrew during the autumn of 1944, they applied the “Scorched Earth” approach. More than ten thousand dwellings, schools and hospitals were destroyed. Two third of the population was evacuated to Southern Norway by force.

During spring and summer of 1945, most of those who had been forced to leave moved back home. Though the authorities wanted to reconstruct the county, they succeeded only partially. There was a lack of practically everything, but people insisted on returning and rebuild what was lost. Most of the county bears the mark of post-war architecture. Some places have never been rebuilt at all.

The art project Estemer investigates the collective unconscious memories connected to evacuation, survival, disconnection and dislocation. As a contrast is the North Norwegian slang word Estemer used in the title for the exhibition and can be translated into acknowledgement, acceptance or to take care of someone.

By reconstructing some of the elements, which can be seen on photos from the returning and rebuilding of the area, the aim with the project is to create a link to people who today have to evacuate because of war.