Minister calls meeting on Utøya memorial
Norway’s local government minister Jan Tore Sanner has called an emergency meeting on the controversial memorial to the 2011 Utøya massacre, after locals threatened to sue to prevent it being built.
“It is quite natural that there are many views on the design and location of then memorials to 22 July,” Tore said. “We therefore want to start a dialogue with all parties and are invited them all to a meeting where we can listen to all those affected.”
The meeting will take place on Friday at 3pm, and will bring together neighbours opposed to the memorial with the government agencies behind it.
“It is encouraging that the government has called such a meeting. It will be interesting to see what comes out of it,” said Harald Stabell, one of Norway’s most prominent lawyers, who has been hired to block the memorial.
Those invited will include: Culture Minister Thorhild Widwey, who officially commissioned the memorial; those living close to the proposed Utøya monument, represented by Jørn Øverby, and their lawyer Harald Stabell; Norway’s public art agency Koro, which commissioned Jonas Dahlberg, the Swedish artist; and the government agency responsible for leasing the site and working on the development plan.
The Norwegian public art body Koro in February chose “Memory Scar”, a concept by the Swedish conceptual artist Jonas Dahlberg, as the memorial to those who died during the terror attack on Utøya in July 2011.
The artist proposed creating a “permanent scar” of the landscape by carving a three-and-a-half-meter wide slice out of the Sørbråten peninsular.
Almost as soon as the proposal was launched neighbours set up a Facebook group, which condemned the design as a “rape of nature” , a “tourist attraction”, and a “hideous monument”.