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Commissioned to make a new work for the Norwegian Parliament in Oslo, Fiona Tan collected family photograph albums from as broad and varied a background as possible, eventually selecting two hundred and sixty-seven images that would be individually framed and presented in the Parliament building. For this book, she revisits the entire collection of images – intimate family portraits that capture private if familiar moments: the birth of a child, birthdays, family gatherings, adolescence, holidays, brothers and sisters, first loves, favourite places. Loosely arranged within three familiar strains – Portrait, Home and Nature – unexpected cross-references and playful associations unfold.
While a visual document of a country’s people, there is nothing obvious that would identify Vox Populi, Norway as being Norwegian. The reader is drawn into a seductive and popular ethnography where images of the private and intimate challenge the ideology of official national portraits, and yet also assume a master narrative that defines the whole.