Fuel to the Fire
20 October 2016 - 15 January 2017
Natascha Sadr Haghighian's new installation Fuel to the Fire raises topical issues like the militarization of the police, images as testimonies, and institutionalized racism and violence. Patio heaters and fleece blankets are important elements in the exhibition space. Usually associated with outdoor seating, they function in Sadr Haghighian's work as markers of enclosure or exclusion and appear in various roles in the installation. In one area, the blankets carry screen-printed images of incidents of police violence that have evoked significant protests. The installation also includes parts of a balcony from a million program housing unit, a sound piece with leaking headphones, and newspaper clippings echoing media stereotypes and alternative narratives. A newly produced Fuel to the Fire newspaper contains material on the history of SWAT police and on the role of eyewitness video that creates a legitimacy crisis for the police. The free newspaper also includes interviews with activist Hamid Khan, cultural geographer Irene Molina at Uppsala University, and journalist and editorial writer at Aftonbladet Somar Al Naher, among others, and can be taken home as study material.
Particularly highlighted in Fuel to the Fire is what happed in the Stockholm suburb of Husby on a night in May 2013 when Lenine Relvas- Martins, a 69-year-old resident of Husby, was shot by Piketen police (SWAT police) in his own apartment. Neighbors were present and waited out a crucial moment in which Lenine's dead body was carried out in a body bag, covered by a red fleece blanket adorned with a heart. The police had claimed in their report that Lenine was injured during the incident and taken to a hospital. The images taken by neighbors and freelance journalist Björn Lockström proved that they tried to cover up Lenine's death, and the police were forced to “correct” their report. The incident caused protests in Husby and resulted in a significant uprising in many major cities in Sweden. Nobody was held responsible for the fatal shooting, nor was it discussed in the mainstream media in the direct aftermath of the incident. Instead, the media reported mainly on car fires and youth violence, furthering a stigmatized image of the northern suburbs of Stockholm.
More information available hereOctober 17, 2016