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"Gravitational Ripples" chosen as Tsunami monument

Published måndag 3 april kl 14.00
Artist Lea Porsager: It's the bending of the mind when you are in deep pain
(7:36 min)
"Gravitational ripples" will be open to the public at Blockhusudden, Stockholm, in 2018.
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"Gravitational ripples" will be open to the public at Blockhusudden, Stockholm, in 2018 Credit: Claudio Bresciani/TT
Danish artist Lea Porsager won the competition to design a memorial to the victims of the tsunami disaster.
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Danish artist Lea Porsager won the competition to design a memorial to the victims of the tsunami disaster. Credit: David Russell/Sveriges Radio
Bob Stigsson lost his wife and two daughters in teh 2004 Asian Tsunami. He says the "gravitational ripples" monument is a reminder to people that life is very fragile.
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Bob Stigsson lost his wife and two daughters in teh 2004 Asian Tsunami. He says the "gravitational ripples" monument is a reminder to people that life is very fragile. Credit: David Russell/Sveriges Radio

"Gravitational Ripples" by Danish artist Lea Porsager was on Monday chosen as the winner of an international competition to create a memorial to honour the 543 Swedish victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The jury, which included two women who lost loved ones in the Boxing Day tsunami, described "Gravitational Ripples" as a worthy winner.

The jury citation read: "Lea Porsager's work has shaped a place that links humans to nature and the cosmos, while giving room for different emotions, from loneliness and longing, to togetherness and happy memories."

The Danish artist told Radio Sweden that the inspiration for her proposal, which will be ready at Blockhusudden in Stockholm next summer, comes from Albert Einstein.

It is a reminder of the brutal existence in the universe, we are just a small Earth spinning around in the cosmos. It's all to do with bending the mind," she said.

"It's taken from this scientific phenomenon known as gravitational waves where you have this double spiral that creates ripples in space time itself. It was Einstein who predicted this and last year it was then measured," she added.

And I thought that this was a beautiful symbol of the bending of the mind when you are in deep pain but also a symbol that can also talk about natural forces and how we need to find hope as well."

Lea Porsager hopes that her work, which will blend with the natural landscape in the park on the island of Djurgården, will offer people a meditative space. 

Bob Stigsson from Småland was present at Monday's announcement. He lost his wife Johanna and two daughters, Kajsa and Klara, in the Asian tsunami, which killed a quarter of a million people, including 543 Swedes.

His wife Maria was on the jury to select the tsunami memorial. She lost her husband Kent Ekdahl and two sons in Thailand. The pair met in the desperate days after the tsunami, in the search for survivors. They supported each other and married three years later.

"I think it was a really good choice from the 158 artists, it is not just a stone with some names on," Bob Stigsson told Radio Sweden. "This is a perfect place here, it's out in the open, it's close to the water and it's a place to come if you are sad," he says.

Hopefully it will be here for two hundred years and tell memories about all the people that were lost in the tsunami and at the same time provide a reminder that life is fragile," he added.

As part of the memorial, relatives of those who lost their lives in the tsunami can decide if they want the names of their loved ones to be engraved on bronze plaques at the memorial site. At present, families of 169 victims have given their consent.

The goal is for the memorial to be ready for opening in the summer of 2018. Now the artist, together with landscape architects and project managers from the Public Art Agency and the National Property Board of Sweden, will plan the work on the site, close to the Thielska gallery.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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