Art Exhibit: Baby dressed as Hitler and other dictators...

Sara - posted on 03/17/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )




What do you all think of this?

Bored and confined to a wheelchair for months, Danish-Norwegian artist Nina Maria Kleivan saw inspiration in her newborn child and began to sew.

Soon enough, her four-month-old daughter, Faustina, became both muse and model, adorned in miniature costumes replicating nine infamous men including Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler.

Crafting the latter costume, Ms. Kleivan, 50, said from her home in Denmark, was the most emotionally trying, "It was very difficult for me to sew the swastika on her little sleeve. I could never have done this to someone else's child."

Ms. Kleivan's exhibit, Potency, also featured photos of her daughter dressed as Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Mao Zedong, Idi Amin, Augusto Pinochet and Slobodan Milosevic. In the 10th and final photo of the series, Faustina -- depicted as a boy throughout -- was naked, revealing her gender and, according to the artist, her innate innocence.

"We are all born as a blank slate, who knows who we will become," Ms. Kleivan said. "I wanted people to think about where tremendous evil comes from."

The art exhibit is so controversial and so startling that, nine years since it debuted in Sweden and long after Ms. Kleivan sold the series to a private collector for approximately US$11,000, Potency is again garnering headlines.

The Danish newspaper Politiken recently published the photos alongside a review about Ms. Kleivan's new book, Enigma. It was not long before the images were again circulating the globe, and even became a lead story on the website of Israel's Haaretz newspaper yesterday.

"I'm a bit nervous about how people will react now that it's back out there again," Ms. Kleivan said. "I know how angry my Jewish aunt was when she saw the exhibit a decade ago."

For her part, the artist said she long harboured hatred toward Germany, and even became "a little obsessed with the war." Her father was part of the Norwegian resistance movement, and was held captive in a German prison camp for years.

"As a little girl, I used to carry around a note with the name of the prison guard, and I swore I would someday kill him," Ms. Kleivan said. "I had such great hatred toward the Nazis for what they had done. I felt like I had a right to work with this subject."


Sara - posted on 03/17/2010




She makes a good point. Hitler was someone's little baby once. If we simply see people like that as 'evil' and there's nothing we could have done, we deny ourselves the chance to stop it happening again.

She makes you think, and that's what art is for, isn't it? To show something that words never could.

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?? - posted on 03/18/2010




It makes me sad for her... she has this precious lil baby and she decides to depict evil...? I completely understand her point and I totally agree that it makes you think, but she is choosing to depict dictators... it makes me sad that she was that encompassed by it that she focused on negative people rather than positive people.

Why not people who did positive things in life or are a depiction of strength, courage and generosity that humans are capable of? Mother Teresa for example... the beautiful people in history were someone's baby at one point too.

I guess that would be the flip side to her point...

Charlie - posted on 03/18/2010




I think it makes for interesting conversation when you consider the point she is making .

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