Photographer Elin Berge & Musician Frida Hyvönen

Queen Country

Storgata 95

13. January 2010 - 23. May 2010

Mari Hildung

The photographer Elin Berge has devoted years to documenting the lives of Thai women living with Swedish men in the province of Västerbotten in northeastern Sweden. Despite major varieties in living conditions and age, each woman faces the same challenge of coming to terms with a cross-cultural identity.

The title Drottninglandet (Queen Country) refers to the area in Sweden where these women live. It also reflects their expectations and dreams as citizens in a Scandinavian country where culture is less markedly influenced by gender divisions. Nearly all the women in the project originate from a poor region in northeastern Thailand where most women have to move to big cities, tourist destinations, or abroad to find work. Going far north to live with a Scandinavian man is an enormous step into the unknown. Drottninglandet is “a narrative of longing and the dream of a better life” as Elin Berge puts it. “So my title is symbolic, representing all the things I imagine these women were dreaming of when they suddenly had the opportunity to move to Sweden.”

Elin Berge has carried out her project in close collaboration with Frida Hyvönen, composer and singer. The music especially composed for Drottninglandet is part of a series entitled Frida Hyvönen gives you, in which she experiments freely with a wide range of artistic expressions.