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Swedish Memorial for the victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004

On 26 December, 2004, Southeast Asia suffered one of the greatest disasters in history, killing a quarter of a million people. Among the victims, 543 deceased and around 1,500 injured were Swedes. In connection with the 10th anniversary of the disaster, the government decided to commission a memorial in Sweden for the victims of the tsunami, to honour the memory of those who lost their lives, and to create a place where their relatives and friends could gather.

In accordance with the commission of the government, the National Property Board Sweden and Public Art Agency Sweden have organized a competition for the artistic design of the memorial. The interest to participate was large and many applications were submitted. During the spring of 2016, the National Property Board and Public Art Agency, in cooperation with the jury, selected five contestant artists or artist groups. The five proposals were presented in January 2017 and April 3rd 2017, we announced the winning proposal.

WINNER

The idea proposal Gravitational Ripples by Danish artist Lea Porsager, has been selected as the winner by the jury.

Gravitational Ripples is inspired by a cosmic phenomenon know as gravitational waves, predicted by Einstein as early as in 1916, but first measured by scientists in 2016. Gravitational waves arise when two celestial bodies orbit each other, spinning closer and closer together, unleashing energy so powerful that it creates ripples in spacetime itself. The memorial conveys this all-encompassing, pulsating movement of the universe. It is a meditation on the boundless forces of the universe, a reminder of the cosmic disruptions that bind and unite us.

Read more about the proposal and artist here.

– Lea Porsager in cooperation with colleagues Rasmus Strange Thue Tobiasen, Søren Assenholt and Synnøve B. Brøgger

Inclusion of names on the memorial

As part of the memorial, visitors should be able to find the names of the Swedish citizens who died in the tsunami. The relatives can decide if they want a deceased individual’s name to be featured in the memorial: only after their approval will the names be included.

THE OTHER COMPETING PROPOSALS

The jury also announced a second prize winner and a third prize winner. If the National Property Board Sweden and Public Art Agency Sweden and the first prize winner had not reached an agreement the question about the implementation had gone to the second- and third prize winners.

Second prize winner is Studio Tomás Saraceno who submitted the proposal with motto 016ST.

Third prize winner is Vogt Landscape Architects with Julian Charrière who submitted the proposal with motto Memorial Stone.

Other Idea proposals (in Alphabetical Order According to the Motto)
Alfredo Jaar who submitted the proposal with motto The Cloud.
Damián Ortega Studio who submitted the proposal with motto Nautilus.

See all four proposals here.

The Jury

The broad experience and knowledge that the various jury members allowed for every idea proposal to be reviewed and assessed according to the criteria set in the competition programme, in order to find a worthy winner through an overall assessment. Read the compiled statement from the jury and more about their work here

  • Anders Bodin, architect SAR/MSA, cultural heritage specialist at the National Property Board of Sweden (chairman)
  • Gunnar Björkman, Park Manager for the Royal Djurgården Administration
  • Jonas Dahlberg, artist, winner of the competition for the 22 July Memorial, Utøya.
  • Josefine Fredriksson, surviving/relative from the tsunami disaster
  • Anders Kling, landscape architect LAR/MSA
  • Lotta Mossum, curator at the Public Art Agency Sweden
  • Ann-Sofi Noring, Deputy Director of Moderna Museet
  • Maria Stigsson, surviving/relative from the tsunami disaster

After the competition

Immediately after the international art competition has ended, the winning artist will start to collaborate with a landscape architect appointed by the organizers.

Public Art Agency Sweden is the commissioner of the artist’s work, the project manager for the production of the artistic design, and responsible for expertise concerning art in the public space and for assessing the quality of the artistic design during the implementation phase.
 
SFV is the developer in charge of the memorial and is responsible for the planning and implementation of the Government’s assignment in its entirety.
 
Once the memorial is implemented, SFV will be responsible for its management and maintenance in cooperation with the Royal Djurgården Administration.

About the competition

The competition started with a prequalifying phase. Swedish and international artists, artist groups, and artists in partnership with landscape architects were invited to submit their applications until March 10, 2016. Late spring 2017, the organizers and the competition jury selected five individual artists or groups who were commissioned to each present a proposal.

The budget for the artistic design and preparation of the memorial site is SEK 7 million. The competition programme, which specifies what this sum should cover, can be downloaded from the websites of the Public Art Agency and National Property Board.

The memorial shall be artistically designed to integrate with the landscape and offer a suitable setting for a broad range of feelings. The memorial will provide a place for the nearest and dearest to mourn and contemplate, but also to recall happy times and fond memories. The memorial shall serve as a meeting point but also enable solitude, as a place for both collective and personal memories. The memorial shall be a beautiful and dignified place. Key words have been: warmth, hope, and confidence. The full text of the artistic vision is available in Swedish here on the website of the Public Art Agency Sweden.

About the location
The location of the memorial is a south-facing slope on south Djurgården, near the Thiel Gallery. From the parking lot on Djurgårdsvägen, the area stretches almost up to Prinsessan Märtas väg. The site is part of the Royal National City Park, and the area is of great natural and cultural value. Appendix 1 in the competition programme includes a detailed description of the site – its cultural history, ecological and other natural features.

Competition Program Memorial

Competition Program App 1

The competition is organised by the National Property Board Sweden and Public Art Agency Sweden in consultation with the Swedish Association of Architects.

Timetable

  • Final day for submission of notification of interest on 10/03/2016
  • Notice to those appointed to participate in the competition, 2016-04-22.
  • Sending out of competition brief, end of August 2016.
  • Separate start meetings with the five competitors on 29th, 30th August and 1st September.
  • Publication of the decision of the jury, 2017-04-03.
  • Start of the planning, around 2017-04-01.
  • Implementation on site, autumn 2017 to spring 2018.
  • Inauguration of the Memorial, May/June 2018.

Hear Lea Porsager talk about Gravitational Ripples in a recorded interview.

Background

In 2014, the government gave Gunilla Malmborg the assignment to be the national coordinator of a memorial project. She contacted the next of kin and friends of victims to ask their advice on the emotions and uses to be conveyed by a memorial. In May 2015, Malmborg presented her proposal for a memorial, to be located on south Djurgården in Stockholm, and announced a competition for the artistic design of the site.

About the organizers

The competition, which is a project competition according to chapter 14 of the Public Procurement Act, is organized by the National Property Board Sweden and the National Public Art Council Sweden. The National Property Board will build the memorial and is responsible for planning and implementing the project as a whole. The Public Art Agency Sweden will commission the parts of the project relating to the planning and implementation of the artistic design. The future maintenance of the memorial will be borne by the National Property Board in collaboration with the Royal Djurgården Administration, which will manage the vegetation and the land.

Contact

Vanja Knocke, project manager on behalf of the National Property Board Sweden
Lotta Mossum, project manager for artistic production for the Public Art Agency Sweden