Denim Mag

Exploring the meaning of evil

Danish photographer Nina Maria Kleivan has provoked with a series of images she took from her own daughter dressed up as some of humanity’s worst despots that lived in the 20th century. In this controversial photo series called “Potency”, Kleinvan dressed her daughter Faustina -who at the time was a few months old- as Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Chairman Mao, Idi Amin, Augusto Pinochet and Adolf Hitler.

Kleivan’s aim was to illustrate that we all begin the same. “You need to be conscious that your actions have consequences that impact on your fellow human beings. The people I let my daughter portray didn’t give a damn about the human cost, the casualties, their thoughts caused,” Kleivan says.

“The responsibility is yours alone. You can’t throw it away – as a parent, as human beings – and say that you just followed orders.”

Kleivan’s father was a member of the Norweigan resistance movement who had been held in a German prison camp.

As a result, she grew up with a ‘tremendous hatred’ of the German’s and fantasised about killing the guard who imprisoned her father.

Kleivan insists: ‘This is not a deliberate provocation, it calls for reflection. Even though comical, you’re not supposed to only laugh at these pictures. You need to contemplate them, ponder where this evil comes from.’

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