The Swedish Embassy Presents Faraway So Close

The Embassy of Sweden proudly presents Faraway So Close: Swedish Artists Look at the United States. This exhibition includes both photography and video art that show American culture and society through the eyes of prominent Swedish artists. The display will be open to the public through February 19, 2023 at the Swedish Embassy in Georgetown. 

In Faraway So Close, documentary images from the 1960s are shown in parallel with contemporary Swedish artists’ views of the United States today. Many of the participating artists are particularly interested in exploring a different reality of the United States – one that goes beyond the more traditional and idealized view often encountered in Sweden.

I was treated to a special tour of the exhibit with Helene Larsson Pousette, Curator and Cultural Counselor at the Embassy of Sweden. She and her husband Johan moved to America during the pandemic and are thrilled to open this exhibit to the public. 

Helene explained that despite the physical distance, the United States has long been a big influence and has acted as a role model for Sweden. Following the Second World War, American popular culture grew and spread in Sweden, and it has been a dominant factor in the Swedish cultural scene ever since.

What I thought was particularly special about this exhibit was it was so easy to relate to. Sometimes hearing about other cultures’ interpretations of America can feel overly stereotyped but I loved how much diversity and empathy came through each artist’s work. 

Helene also pointed out that most of the work reflected a period of time in American history but many of the pieces highlighted the people of the time in particular. When you visit, you’ll notice cowboys and traditional office culture but also pieces about the Civil Rights Movement and LGBT culture. It felt really special to know that so much of American nuance and subculture are not only seen but truly appreciated by a culture an ocean away. It reminded me of the importance of making sure that I remember to appreciate and learn from other cultures too. 

Annika Elisabeth von Hausswolff (Photo: American Chronicle Press)
The Reincarnation of Rockland Palace (Photo: Marcus Ohlsson); © Sune Jonsson New York - Västerbottens Museum

Don’t miss Faraway So Close: Swedish Artists Look at the United States at the House of Sweden in Georgetown through February 19, 2023. Parking is limited in Georgetown so consider taking ride share or the bus. The Swedish Embassy is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 to 5:00 pm. 

At a Glance