Iconic art project secured with funding from the Augustinus Foundation

A large funding from the Augustinus Foundation makes it possible for Nuuk Art Museum to purchase all parts of the art project Melting Barricades created by Asmund Havsteen-Mikkelsen and Inuk Silis Høegh.

It was a strange sight that met people on the street in 2004 in the very centre of Nuuk. Under the Greenlandic flag, uniformed men in full military gear marched up the road, set up a military tent and parked a personnel carrier. Megaphones proclaimed that it was now possible to enrol in Greenland’s military. The happening was part of an art project that ran campaigns on national TV, in newspapers, on the streets of Nuuk and later with kayaks with mounted guns in the Copenhagen canal. It was an art project under the title Melting Barricades. The art project was the first of its kind in Greenland. The art project worked with post-colonial critique with irony and humour. The project was site-specific but at the same time in an undefined place between Greenland and Denmark, in an alternative reality. The project was accompanied by exhibitions in Greenland’s cultural centre Katuaq and at Nordatlantens Brygge in Copenhagen.

Artists Høegh and Havsteen-Mikkelsen documented all parts of the project and preserved the project as a whole. It has therefore been possible to purchase it as a large project with video works, posters, passports, application forms for enrolment in the military, flags, campaign stickers, survival manual, image documentation, article collection, tent cloth, uniforms, sketches, etc. With financial support from the Augustinus Foundation, the project is now being purchased and preserved for the future. The collection has been purchased with the intention that it will be incorporated into the Greenlandic National Gallery of Art when it is eventually established.

“Melting Barrricades was a fictional army that, on the 25th anniversary of the Home Rule in 2004, managed to create great debate and reflection on the military, sovereignty, the colonial relationship to Denmark and to Greenlandic values in general, while posing an alternative reality. This project is an absolute masterpiece in Greenlandic art, and it is with great honour and pride that Nuuk Art Museum will now be home to this art collection. A huge thanks to the artists for their collaboration and to the Augustinus Foundation for their support.” – Museum Manager Nivi Christensen.

It seems very appropriate that the purchase can be realised in 2024. The art project has its 20th anniversary, the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Home Rule, and thus also the 15th anniversary of the establishment of Self-Government.

“The project is as relevant today as it was when it was presented 20 years ago. It was a project that was ahead of its time, and the way it addressed and got everyone engaged in these big societal issues is so admirable. It’s an iconic art project that deserves to be both collected for posterity and to be activated.”

As a small preview, Nuuk Art Museum showed the video work Why We Fight from the project during Kulturnatten (Culture Night) to great interest from the audience. The museum expects parts of the art collection to be on display as early as spring 2024.

April 2024.