Baby Dictator: A Photographic Exhibit

Danish-Norwegian artist Nina Maria Kleivan has begun to stir controversy amidst her photo-series “Potency,” where she dresses her baby daughter, Faustina, in outfits of various savage dictators. It’s as if it’s a who’s who list of asshole tyrants. The exhibit is Kleivan’s way to illustrate how we all begin life the same, and that we have every opportunity ahead of us to do good, or inexplicable evil.

“We all have evil within us. Even small children are evil towards each other,” Danish-Norwegian artist Nina Maria Kleivan tells [Haaretz] as she explains why she chose to dress up her baby daughter as the most evil historical figures of the 20th century. Even my daughter could end up ruling Denmark with an iron fist. The possibility is still there. You never know.”


So how did this all start, you may be asking yourself. After Kleivan gave birth to her second child, Faustina, she developed serious pelvic joint pain that kept her in hospital for two months, then captive at home in a wheelchair for another four months. One day she just got bored out of her mind. After sewing together small outfits with anything that she could get a hand on, the next step was dressing up her baby, and photographing the offensive, but disputable, outcomes.

Kleivan was raised by a father in the Norwegian resistance movement who had been captive in a German prison camp. She grew up hating the Germans. As a child she would carry a note in her pocket with the name of her father’s prison guard, so that when the day came, she could identify him and kill him. “Even though my father stressed that you shouldn’t hate anyone, not least the Germans. Hatred is a dead end.”


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