Wenche Nilsen’s main technique is embroidery. She embroiders using triple-thread knitting wool. She uses abstract shapes together with bold saami colours. This results in unusual patterns that appear as human shapes. The shape, colour size, background and way in which the artist sews vary. Emphasis is placed on vivid, clear colours. Today Wenche Nilsen lives in Alta and works in a social enterprise. She has had several individual and group exhibitions.

Info about the Trastad Collection:
Trastad Samlinger is part of South Troms Museum and operates within a national and international network. In addition to a gallery, it is a museum documenting the history and art of the mentally handicapped. The centre preserves the history of the institutionalization process after World War II, while the gallery represents the unique story of how so-called ” developmentally challenged” people expressed themselves through creativity. It features the largest collection of art and handcraft made by the mentally handicapped in Norway. The collection was built by the former Nord-Norges Åndssvakehjem (a home for the mentally disabled), and contains 26,000 works of national and international visual art created by the handicapped.

 As an art museum Trastad Samlinger separates itself through its efforts to promote the work of groups that are otherwise considered “outsiders”. One of the main intentions of the museum is to increase knowledge and understanding for these so-called outsider groups’ abilities.

 Trastad Samlinger also works to achieve equality for these groups’ participation and recognition in an artistic context, showing the diversity they represent. By way of touring exhibitions, in collaboration with artists from all over the country, the centre caters to a wide audience and creates space for dialogue and questions. Questions like “What is art?” and “Who is the insider and who is the outsider?” are inevitable, and the desire is that this discussion will foster respect and awareness of marginalized groups. Through these art exhibitions at home and abroad Trastad Samlinger will hopefully help to stimulate reflection on the history it represents.

 As of 1st January 2008, Trastad Collection became a part of Sør-Troms Museum (South-Troms Museum). Trastad Collection consists of three units: a museum, a gallery and a study-centre. Trastad Collection receives its main funding from the Ministry of Culture. The gallery is financed through Nordnorske Kulturavtalen (an initiative to maintain diversity in culture in Northern Norway, as well as funding). Other subsidy comes from municipal grants and project funding. Trastad Gård in Kvæfjord was the main institution for the mentally disabled in Northern Norway from 1954 to 1991. Trastad Collection has established its museum and gallery in what was known as Pavilion 7 at Trastad Gård. The museum displays an authentic care unit as it was at the institution Trastad Farm, as well as documenting the history of Northern Norway’s first institution for the mentally disabled. Trastad Gallery consists of two parts: “Trastad-kunsten” (Trastad art), a collection of art made by residents of Trastad Farm, in addition to a national and international collection of Outsider Art.

Simone Romy Rossner
Head of Department
Trastad Collection
Sør-Troms Museum
simone@stmu.no  // www.stmu.no