House of Sweden, Washington, D.C.

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“Dressing Swedish” is a traveling exhibition visiting House of Sweden in March on its journey through Scandinavian museums in the U.S. Curated by Dr. Charlotte Hyltén-Cavallius and Dr. Lizette Gradén, and supported by Multicultural Society, Tumba in Sweden.

“Behind Platitudes and Strawberries” by Ulrika Gunnarsdotter Folk costumes and cultural heritage have become increasingly politicized. This was evident in the official opening of the Swedish Parliament in 2010, when the leader of the Sweden Democrats party, Jimmie Åkesson, wore a folk costume from Blekinge while his girlfriend, Louise Erixon, wore the Swedish national dress. The Sweden Democrats are a new party in Sweden with an controversial political platform. Sweden has had one of the most liberal immigration and refugee policies in the world, which has resulted in a significant immigrant population. Anti-immigrant sentiments have been on the rise throughout Europe and such tendencies have also been discovered in Sweden. Sweden Democrats were elected to Parliament with a tiny percentage of the vote on the basis of a clearly defined and strongly anti-immigrant agenda. The appropriation of the concept of “Swedishness” through the use of traditional folk dress created a maelstrom in the court of public opinion. Artist Ulrika Gunnarsdotter comments on this event and its political implications by renting and photographing herself and her partner in the very same costumes.

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