Sarah Christianson

Gamle Landet (Old Country)

Unidentified Family by traditional Norwegian home, Unknown Date, Christianson Family Archive

Gamle Landet (Old Country) grew out Homeplace. As I combed through our family archive, I became increasingly curious about the farms my ancestors had left in Norway. What had happened to these places? Did they still exist? If so, who lived there now? What traces of my ancestors might remain?

Building off the genealogy research conducted by my grandparents, this project traces the beginnings of the Christianson farm in Norway. I traveled to the farms my great-great grandparents emigrated from in the late 1800s and discovered that most of them still exist, having been cared for by other families. Hardly any tangible traces of my ancestors have survived. These Norwegian farms are a nexus between people and through time, linking my ancestors to the present, unrelated families now living there. To explore this complex relationship to place, I present documents and portraits from our family archive alongside my contemporary images of the farms and their current owners in diptychs and triptychs.

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This project was funded in part by the Walter H. Judd International Graduate Fellowship from the University of Minnesota.