Black and white picture of stairs with bushes
The broad, silent flight of stairs in the area around Kysthospitalet near Kalundborg, where David Kristoffersen spent several years – from the series ‘Evidence’.

Photo: Tina Enghoff

Displaced - Tina Enghoff and David S.N.J. Kristoffersen

Tina Enghoff in collaboration with David Samuel Naeman Josef Kristoffersen.

The exhibition Displaced focuses on the Danish colonial period in Greenland by means of a personal life story about losing one's roots, one's sense of belonging and one's language – but also about retaking possession of one's identity. Displaced raises a number of topical issues about untold life stories and the role of archives in a post-colonial context. In Displaced, David Samuel Naeman Josef Kristoffersen tells his own story via the photographic artist Tina Enghoff, who visits the places and archives connected with David's story with her camera.

A personal life story about the post-colonial legacy

In the 1950s, David Kristoffersen was a young child who was moved from his family in Greenland and placed in Kysthospitalet near Kalundborg in Denmark because of a limp. With homesickness as his driving force, he attempted in vain to find his way back home to Greenland across the frozen expanse of Kalundborg Fjord close to the hospital. When, after a number of years, he came back to Greenland, he had lost his mother tongue and his family were completely at a loss – for where had the little boy been, and what had happened to him? It was not at all easy to work this out, for David Kristoffersen's patient records were in Denmark and were written in Danish.

Art as evidence

The idea for Displaced came from David Kristoffersen himself, who contacted Tina Enghoff, and the two of them have collaborated closely on the exhibition. Tina Enghoff has consulted a number of archives and been to places linked to David Kristoffersen's life, which have revealed much about his years in Denmark and are now included in a number of the works at the exhibition. Tina Enghoff uses both her camera and photography in a criminological and artistic way – to show documents relating to David Kristoffersen's life as evidence and to bring the personal story sharply into focus via narrative techniques from photo journalism and photographic art.

Who has access to the life story when the archives are 'displaced'?

The exhibition places David Kristoffersen's life story in a larger narrative about the Danish colonial period in Greenland. The effects of this colonial period have been deposited for generations. Even today, events from that period deeply influence people's lives, just as power relations between individuals and social institutions lie under the yoke of history.

Displaced has a voice in the present-day discussion about former colonies and colonial power relations, raising a number of topical and controversial issues, in particular about the role of archives in a post-colonial context. Who can gain access to the archives? For whom are the archives important, and are they located in the right places? Are the archives 'displaced' because the people they deal with have difficulty in gaining access to them?

The exhibition is being shown with work texts in Danish, Greenlandic and English. Displaced has previously been exhibited in Greenland at Nanortallip Katersugaasivia (Nanortalik Museum), Sisimiut Katersugaasivat (Sisimiut Museum) and Nunatta Katersugaasivia Allagaateqarfialu (Greenland National Museum & Archives).

About Tina Enghoff

Tina Enghoff (1957) is a Danish artist from the International Center of Photography in New York.

Enghoff is known for her critical approach, for working in a community-based and an inclusive way, and using art as a mouthpiece for marginalised groups in society.

The exhibition is supported by Staten Kunstfond, Beckett-Fonden, Grosserer L.F. Foghts Fond, Knud Højgaard Fond, DJ:Fotografernes Ophavsrets Fond, Rådet for Visuel Kunst - Københavns Kommune, Grønlands Universitet/Ilisimatusarfik/University of Greenland, Nordisk Kulturfond, Konsul George Jorck og Hustru Emma Jorck's Fond and Handelsgartner Harry Opstrups Fond.

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