Elin Berge has during a decade taken interest in the marriage migration phenomenon from Thailand to Sweden. A body of work that includes two books, a film, an exhibition and specially composed music.
The Kingdom is the follow-up to the previous work the Land of Queens and is the Swedish men’s story. The title alludes to the patriarchal monarchy of Thailand, where it was shot when Elin accompanied some of the couples when they came on holiday to see their relatives.
The phenomenon documented in these projects is increasingly common. According to reports, in some villages in the north eastern Isaan province in Thailand, as many as one in three families have female family members married to western men. Only in Sweden there are close to 30 000 people born in Thailand living, most of them are women. The common reason for leaving, expressed by the women Elin Berge has met,
is a wish to improve their lives – to find kind-hearted men, provide for their families of origin, increase their material standards, gain freedom and give their children a bright future.The men have not as clear verbalized the reasons for engaging in relationships with Thai women. However, many have talked about a previous and unwanted loneliness.
The collected works tells about how people’s dreams of something better are reshaping the places and contexts where these personal stories take place. A universal desire that shed lights on mankind’s reasons to migrate in history and from and to other parts of the world today. It encourages dialogue about power relations between class, gender and ethnicity as well as the effects of urban- and globalization. And ultimately – what true love really is.