Summer afternoon in Frogner Park and the human zoo

My memories about my past trips pop up a lot recently so I decided to write one more for today.

I went to my first solo trip in August 2014 and the trip was from West Norway to Paris &Bretagne.  During the 3-week-solo-trip, I visited my Norwegian friend in Oslo and luckily stayed in her apartment for two nights. One day, she told me I should visit Frogner Park and she was willing to walk with me after her work. We took off from the train in majorstuen which is affluent neighborhood in Oslo.



Even in June and July, the weather in Oslo can be chilly. Very luckily, I was there in early August so weather was incredibly nice for me(8C-20C, I’m not a big fan of hot summer) and you can see a lot of pretty flowers in downtown Oslo including this park.

Frogner park( aka Vigeland Sculpture Park) has a lot of sculptures all by Vigeland who is the most admired sculptor in Norway. This is the biggest park in the world dedicated to single artist.  When it comes to Norwegian artist, almost all the people would think of Edvard Munch. Of course, Edvard Munch is the most well known but I feel that Vigeland is more loved by Norwegian people. Many local people would enjoy jogging in the park as well as tourist taking walk in the park.

Vigeland Sculptures are very different from sculptures that you will see in Rome, Louvre, Britain museums and Greece. His sculptures are very far from what we think ideal bodies look like.


Along the way, my friend and I saw this sculture, “angry boy”. She said it’s one of the most famous small sculptures in the park and she doesn’t know why. Hmm…I don’t know why, either.




And here comes the rainbow! On the pile of people…

AND…..Here is the monolith. The monolith is the centerpiece of Vigeland’s project. If you see it in person, it’s ENORMOUS! It’s 46 feet tall depicting 121 figures climbing in and around each other, all fighting their way to the top.I think it’s one of the arts that describes humans life most accurately. It’s not exactly look like this but we’re living in the competitive world where we have to fight to the top in order to reach the highest reward. It’s the most bizarre sculptures I’ve seen but somehow I really love it and still miss enjoying sculptures in relatively warm weather in Oslo.


After watching his sculptures, we explored side part of the park. Then, we found out this and my friend wondered why the government reopened racist exhibition in 1914.


In 1914, there was an exhibition in this park to show people from Congo. Norwegians brought about 80 people from Congo and basically made Africans zoo exhibition. Norway was much more isolated country back then so the exhibition was a hot topic across the country that 1.4mil Norwegians came to Oslo to see the human zoo and the total population at that time was 2 mil. In other words, about 70 % of people in the country saw this exhibition. The picture below is from the exhibition in 1914.

And this is the reopened exhibition in 2014 and it was reopenedone century after the exhibition. But this time, it’s different. There is no Congolese in the reopened exhibition.

The main reason why they reopened this exhibition was to remind how they were ignorant about racism issue at that time.congo

In the picture, you can see “we are rebuilding the village in order to address issues around historical amnesia, misrepresentations, the evolution of racism”. After reading the explanation, we agreed it was a good idea to recall the ignorance in the past and become more beware of it for better future.

When we made mistakes or faults, it’s not our first instinct to reckon our faults and openly apologize it. Mostly, we want to hide it wishing not many people find it out. Even some people would try to deny what they have been done. It is the most ethical when you are openly apologize for your faults but certainly it’s not easy. In this case, it’s not even an individual case.

From the trip, rebuilding the “human zoo” was one of the most memorable parts.I’m still moved how Norwegians are honest about their mistakes in the past and I saw potential that Norway will remain as one of the least corrupted countries in the world (in 2016, it’s the fifth least corrupted country. CPI:86 and CPI equal to 0 means it’s the most corrupted. )