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The National Community of the Bahá´ís of Norway  

arts related mention in our publications, Norway

Poster for the Mark Tobey exhibition co-organized by the National Bahá´í Community of Norway in Olso in 1993.

Mark Tobey exhibition in Norway,
27 March - 2 May 1993

by Britt Strandlie Thoresen, Norway.

The organisation of this exhibition began shortly after the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá´ís of Norway received the April 1991 letter from the Universal House of Justice, requesting each National Assembly to consult on ways to proclaim the Holy Year in a dignified way.

A committee was appointed, with the secretary of the National Assembly as one member. We consulted for many hours on how to meet this challenge and we also consulted with a television journalist whom we knew. He supported the idea of an exhibition of Mark Tobey's work. Another committee member, the composer and musician, Lasse Thoresen, had contacts with the Henie Onstad Art Center and its Director Per Hovdenakk. In early 1992 we consulted with him and he was very keen on the idea. An admirer of Tobey's work himself, he had wanted to get some of his paintings to Norway, but the expense had been a barrier. He was more than willing to co-operate with the Bahá´í community to make this exhibition part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the passing of Bahá'u'lláh.

To cut a long story short, it was a lot work, and would not have been possible had it not been for a handful of Bahá´í s who donated a large sum. We tried to get private and commercial funding without success. Our original budget of Nkr. 500,000 (about US$80,000) was reduced to NKr. 200, 000 (US$ 25,000), of which the National community contributed a small amount. Some costs were sponsored.

The Norwegian Department of Culture covering the US$50 million insurance of the twenty works. Mark Tobey's paintings are very valuable and were very difficult to get hold of, since many are held by private collectors. We were very happy to have some from private Bahá´í homes as well as from the Museum of Modern Art in New York and a gallery in Basel.

...more to come...

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