Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Jorunn Sannes, and Sandra Mujinga Collaborate on National Memorial Project

Snøhetta's founding partner Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, in collaboration with artists Jorunn Sannes and Sandra Mujinga, has been shortlisted for the 22 July National Memorial competition. The collaborative effort aims to create spaces that evoke engagement and emotional connection.

The team of three emerged as one of ten finalists in the competition, which drew a remarkable 220 applications. The memorial is slated to be situated at the entrance of the new government building complex at Johan Nygaardsvolds plass.

Sentinels. Photo: Michael Brzezinski

Sandra Mujinga. Photo: Gustave Muhozi

Navigating the artistic journey

- Creating a place or object whose task is to unite, remember, comfort, and mourn is a task we do not take lightly. We approach this process sensitively and respectfully but also with a clear and solid wish to contribute to finding a place where our collective grief can be processed far into the future, says Thorsen.

The responsibility for overseeing the new government building complex's artistic aspects falls under the governmental agency KORO (Art in Public Spaces). Following their selection, the trio will convene with KORO in Oslo during the second week of January for a comprehensive introduction to the assignment. This will include visits to the Government Building Complex, the 22 July Centre, and Utøya, providing the artists with essential insights and knowledge as they develop their conceptual ideas and sketch materials for the memorial.

The sketches are scheduled to be unveiled at a two-day conference in Oslo in early June. A meticulous jury process will unfold until spring 2025, culminating in the selection of the winning proposal.

Jorunn Sannes. Photo: Calle Huth

Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Photo: Nils Petter Dale

Fusing art and humanism

At the core of Thorsen, Sannes, and Mujinga's artistic endeavors lies a shared commitment to social sustainability and utilizing the built environment in service of humanism. Their collective aspiration is to foster public engagement on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels through their memorial design.

Sandra Mujinga, born in 1989 in Goma, Congo, is a Norwegian multidisciplinary artist known for exploring visibility and disappearance in her work. Holding a master's degree in Fine Art from Malmö National Academy of the Arts, Mujinga's innovative practice challenges traditional identity politics and presence. Her works are part of prestigious collections, including the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA), and the National Museum in Oslo.

The Norwegian Opera & Ballet. Photo: Helge Skodvin

Kjetil Traedal Thorsen. Photo: Ilja C Hendel

Globally acclaimed cultural buildings

Jorunn Sannes, born in 1960 in Haugesund, graduated in textiles from the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in Oslo. Known for her large-scale public artworks, she has significantly contributed to the aesthetic and conceptual aspects of projects such as the library in Alexandria and the opera roof in Oslo.

Kjetil T. Thorsen, born in 1958 in Haugesund, boasts a master's degree in architecture from Graz University of Technology. Co-founding Snøhetta in 1989, he has been instrumental in designing globally acclaimed public and cultural buildings, including the new library in Alexandria, the Norwegian Opera in Oslo, and the Pavilion of the National September 11th Memorial in New York.

The jury overseeing the selection process comprises Marianne Borgen (chair), Mohamed Abdi, Regitze Schäffer Botnen, Mathias Danbolt, Hege Maria Eriksson, Lena Fahre, Ingeborg Hjort, Trude Schjelderup Iversen, Nora Ceciliedatter Nerdrum, Camille Norment, and Fabian Wahl Sandvold.