Body Positive Norway: Vigeland’s Park
Hei Hei! I have been a poor excuse for a blogger lately as I’m studying abroad in Norway (Oslo, particularly). But don’t worry! I’ve been taking mental notes about approaches to health, size acceptance, and women’s equality here, which will hopefully become blog posts soon. But when I saw pictures from Vigeland’s Park – a sculpture garden in Oslo, completed between 1939 and 1949, showcasing the work of Gustav Vigeland – I knew I had to immediately visit and blog it.
Check this out:
And just in case that’s a little to phallic for you, there’s also the Wheel of Life.
Both represent the central theme of all the sculptures in the park:
Man’s journey from cradle to grave, through happiness and grief, through fantasy, hope and wishes of eternity.
While the theme definitely comes through expertly and dramatically, I was most moved by the sheer representation of bodies. None of the bodies were there simply to be aesthetically pleasing, although all were nude, and sometimes sexual, the bodies were celebrated for their capacities, and were often are active and powerful.
I was particularly excited by the portrayal of parenting. Mothers and fathers were portrayed similarly with their kids. Both had the capacity to be tender and nurturing, as well as playful and disciplinary.
There were sculptures of people of all ages, and I liked that older bodies were represented the same as young ones. Still nude, honest, and strong.
Lastly, I found the intertwining of bodies to be completely beautiful. They related to each other openly and honestly and without violence. We have a culture of such strict boundaries of personal space, which I think is important for everyone’s body to feel safe, but have you ever gone a day (or longer) without touching anyone at all? Physical comfort and intimacy is so important, and I think we can relate to each other as human beings and as human bodies. In the world created by Vigeland, the body seems to be safe from violence, and able to relate and interact with other bodies as bodies, as physical selves with value and strength and meaning.