Queen Sonja is delighted with the art gallery

Queen Sonja 80yearsQueen Sonja 80years.Photo Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

Queen Sonja is delighted with the art gallery

Queen Sonja was both dumb struck and overwhelmed when she learned about the gift for her 80’s: a converted stable that will be an exhibition arena for art and culture.

“I want to thank everyone for an impressive effort. I am both happy, proud and grateful – and a little excited and expectant, said the queen, according to NRK.

The entire royal family was present when the art gallery opened to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. Earlier, the grandchildren unveiled a sculpture of her in the Palace Park. It shows Queen Sonja taking a thoughtful rest on a rock whilst out hiking.

The queen could tell that she was completely dumb struck when King Harald revealed the news about the art gallery last year. He wanted the old stables building behind the castle towards Parkveien to be converted into an exhibition arena for art and culture.

The king also had the name ready- the place would be called Queen Sonja’s Art Stable, with a capital S, the queen  told the audience to  laughter from the hall.

Artists donated works

The Riksantikvaren, State Buildings and Architects from Snøhetta have participated in the work to rebuild the stable. The stables originally accommodated 40 horses, and many of the old ropes are preserved and restored to make room for art.

A year ago, Norske Grafikere invited Norwegian artists to donate works to the collection. The invitation went out to all those who engage in visual arts – the only requirement was that it should be a graphic print work.

The result was 164 works from 166 artists – the oldest 93 years old and the youngest 29. Both famous and unknown artists have contributed and all the works have been installed in the art gallery.

Curator Karianne Ryen Eriksen says all the works were received and that no selection or curation has been made in the traditional sense.

“I think it was an idea that it should be democratic and show a cross section of Norwegian graphic art today – showcasing the diversity. That’s what the queen has been very keen on, ” she told NTB.

It was not the Palace that set the framework for the exhibition, she points out, but says that it was an initiative from the artist community itself.

According to Morgenbladet, it was Magne Furuholmen who conveyed the gift idea between the association and the palace.  The queen studied under him, and they have also exhibited their works together.

Discussion in the art environment

However, the proposal to give away art has not been completely unproblematic. Morgenbladet wrote earlier this month about reactions from the artists’ community that responded to the exhibition and the issue of donations.

“Here, one of the poorest groups in the country has given the richest,” said Rita Marhaug, an artist and member of Norwegian Graphics, to the newspaper.

She described the impression that many had agreed to give away their work in the face of the ” heights of power”.

Chairman Magne Vangsnes in Norwegian Graphics calls the criticism unjustified and nonsense.

“It is allowed to give and it is allowed to decline,” he told NTB.

“There are no problematic aspects of this because it is not a gift for the person Queen Sonja, but to the institution,” he says, and thinks the response has been so great just because many wanted to honour the Queen who has tirelessly devoted attention to Norwegian art and culture.

Erna Solberg congratulated the Queen with rounding 80

Oslo.Prime Minister Erna Solberg.Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

On the occasion of Queen Sonja’s 80th birthday, Erna Solberg signed the Book of Congratulations  at the Palace.

Last week, Det royal Household announced that the Book of Congratulations  would also be open to the Norwegian people to sign.

From 13 o’clock on Tuesday, the public will be able to enter the main gate of the castle and give a personal greeting to Queen Sonja. According to the Royal Household , the Parliamentary President will also sign the protocol.

Queen Sonja turns 80 on Tuesday. King Harald himself filled 80 on  21 February this year. The Jubilee was celebrated during events on the 9th and 10th of May.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today