Olga Elliot Schou

Once Upon a Paper

As colonial monuments drown one by one, the little mermaid statue remains in Copenhagen, embodying the national myth of Denmark as a small and innocent kingdom.

Departing from the Danish fairy tale, Once Upon a Paper interrogates colonial storytelling, national symbols and how drawing and typography can become tools of domination. Released in 2021, the 300th ‘anniversary’ of Denmark’s colonisation of Greenland, the publication attests to how today’s political reality is shaped by fictions of the past. Diving into visual archives, the publication uses conversation as a way of untangling dominant narratives and critically reflecting on displays of power, to explore the mermaid’s potential for giving voice to decolonial transformations.