Sweden’s leading photographers are launching a new exhibit and publishing a book in response to President Donald Trump’s criticism of the country’s immigration policies.
During a rally in Florida in February, Trump said that terrorism was growing in Europe, and “look what’s happening last night in Sweden.” But the comment baffled many Swedes because there had been no extraordinary trouble that night in Sweden, a country welcoming to immigrants. Trump later tweeted more comments attacking Sweden’s immigration protocols.
Publisher Max Strom commissioned “Last night in Sweden” in an effort to present a more diverse and multi-faceted portrait of the country.
“We felt we had to react because we didn’t recognize Sweden at all in his words,” photographer and publisher Jeppe Wikstrom told The Associated Press before the opening of the exhibition.
The photos, all taken after 6 p.m. in the spring, present a diverse portrait of Sweden, from an elderly couple in their sauna to a group of scouts from Syria practicing music.
The crowdfunded book hits the shelves on Tuesday, with the first copy sent to the White House and the next ones to all members of U.S. Congress.
“Last night in Sweden” doesn’t shy away from complicated truths, and the book’s foreword acknowledges that following an extremist attack in Stockholm in April, it’s “hard to claim that ‘nothing happened last night in Sweden.'”
But those involved in the project hope to present a nuanced portrait of the country that transcends social statuses as well as political, social and cultural divides.
“When I see this exhibition and this book, I feel very proud of being Swedish,” said Anna Claren, the head of the Nordic School of Photography, who worked on selecting the photos for the book. “There are a lot of different people of course, but there is so much warmth around and among people.”