Their families traveled to the United States in hope of a better life. Today, young Norwegian-Americans dream of the country their ancestors left.
Photojournalist Ingerid Jordal has created “The American Dream of Norway”, an exhibition on young Norwegian-Americans. The exhibition was supposed to be touring in Norway this year, but due to the corona situation a digital version is available at draumenomnorge.no.
In this exhibition you will meet young Norwegian-Americans in Seattle. They talk about their views of Norway and the US, in light of their Norwegian descent and American upbringing. What does Norway mean to Norwegian-Americans today? How are young people connected to a legacy and a past that is so remote, both in time and place?
Seattle was one of the places many Norwegians settled during the recent wave of emigration from Norway, which lasted until the 1960s. Much has changed since hundreds of thousands of Norwegians traveled across the ocean to America. After Norway found oil, most of the emigration stopped.
Most ancestors of those interviewed in this exhibition escaped from a relatively poor country, hoping to find something better in America. Now the standard of living in the United States is lower than here. How does this affect the longing for Norway?
Does Norwegian heritage influence political views? Several of those interviewed are enthusiastic about Norwegian social structure and the welfare state, but not all. What is common is the feeling that Norway means something. Everyone carries a vision and a dream about Norway that they keep alive in different ways. What is typical Norwegian for a Norwegian-American? What can Norwegians today learn about ourselves and “Norwegian culture” through the eyes of young Norwegian-Americans?
The exhibition is relevant in connection with the US presidential election, and is supported by Fritt ord Foundation and the Arts Council of Norway.