Mare Nostrum – Our Ocean - Nobel Peace Center

Nobel Peace Center

Photo: Illustration: Skjelland & Fjellheim

Mare Nostrum – Our Ocean

10 June 2015–10 Apr 2016

The safety fence outside The Nobel Peace Center has been transformed into a 60 meter long art work.

The Nobel Peace Center is currently surrounded by a 60m long construction fence, in connection with the construction of the new National Museum nearby. In conjunction with Statsbygg, the organisation that manages Norway’s government-owned properties, the Nobel Peace Center has chosen to turn the fence into an arena for contemporary art, which it has called the Peace Wall.

The public art agency Kulturbyrået Mesén has been engaged as advisor and curator for the project, and the artists Torunn Skjelland and Vigdis Fjellheim have developed the idea and performed the work. The artwork is called  Mare Nostrum, after the Italian operation established in 2013 to rescue migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

“The fact that the exhibition site is located right next door to Oslo’s busy harbour certainly inspired us to take on this issue. The disaster is happening now, in the same sea, and it is important to continually remind people that we have a shared moral responsibility to care and to provide assistance. We want to help make sure that what is happening in the Mediterranean is not forgotten, even if the media have turned their attention elsewhere,” they say.

The entire artwork is painted directly onto the fence by the two artists, in less than four weeks. It was completed 9 June 2015, in time for the Nobel Peace Center’s 10th anniversary. It will remain in place until June 2016, when new artists will take over the Peace Wall outside the old Vestbane railway station that is now home to the Nobel Peace Center.

“On a fine day, around 80,000 people cross the square in front of us. By using the safety fence as an exhibition space, we will reach out to a far larger audience than those who visit us inside the museum,” says exhibition manager Liv Astrid Sverdrup.