To all queens

Video cover with stills from the video

To All Queens, is the name of an installation and a series of film seminars. Produced in May 2000.

I call the whole project an action. It was filmed and photographed 17/05 2000 in Cape Town, South Africa.
On the 14th of September 2000, the video To All Queens and a letter were sent to all royal Queens in the world. The action was published in the Swedish magazine OOTAL #2/3, 2000. Eight of the royal Queens answered my letter and these letters are also a part of the installation. The video is only shown in scheduled public seminars held by the artist.

The installation To All Queens consists of:
– An un-edited video To All Queens (see video cover above)
– The letter sent to each royal Queen in the world and the reply letters from the royal Queens – 8 out of 12 replied.
– A photo of District Six, where I met the Queen of homeless. (C-Print 2X1 m. see below) and info about District Six.
– A photo of The Queen of Homeless with King and friends (C-Print 2X1 m. see below)


The Letter

Stockholm, September 2000

Her Majesty Queen…
Queen of the Kingdom of …
Your Royal Highness

My name is Cecilia Parsberg, I grew up in Sweden. I live and work as a visual artist in London. During May and June, 2000 I travelled around South Africa. When I visited an area in the centre of Cape Town called District Six I met a woman. She came up and started to talk to me and my videocamera about her situation, being homeless, She said: I am the Queen of Homeless. Me, my King and my friends don’t have a house, we don’t have a shelter, I don’t even have ID. I am speaking for all homeless people and to you as a woman to a woman. Please tell them…

I told her that I work as an artist and I said to her that I would do what I can.

She saw my camera as a medium and a possibility. I filmed and photographed her, her husband and her friends. Many of us are born into a life situation that steers our destiny and this is usually the main obstacle for each individual in the search to find freedom. As an artist I make and intermediate images of what I percieve living in the society. I am sending this video to you and to all the Queens in the world. This video is her possibility to meet you and yours to meet her. Please find enclosed a videocasette with the title: ”To all Queens” as a gift.

This letter will be published in the Swedish art- and litterature- magazine ”OOTAL” together with some stills from the video and and a list of all the Queens it has been sent to. The video will exclusively be shown to the Queens and in my lectures.

You can find out more about the magazine on:
If you want to know more about District Six where Queen of Homeless is staying you can find some information on:
If you would like to find out more about my work you can find it under: http:/


Cecilia Parsberg
Work address: Guest Professor, Academy of Fine Arts
Umea University
S-901 87 UMEA
mobile: +46 (0)70 3286819

The Queen of Homeless with King and friends

District Six
is the name of a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town, South Africa. Over 60,000 of its inhabitants were forcibly removed during the 1970s by the apartheid regime. On 11 February 1966, the government declared District Six a whites-only area under the Group Areas Act, with removals starting in 1968. By 1982, more than 60,000 people had been relocated to Cape Flats township complex some 25 kilometres away. The old houses were bulldozed. (see also


List of all legal queens

Her Majesty Queen Noor
Queen of the Kingdom of JordanThe Royal PalaceAmmanJORDAN
Her Majesty Queen Aishwarya
Queen of the Kingdom of NepalThe Royal PalaceKatmanduNEPAL
Her Majesty Empress Michiko
Empress of JapanThe Royal PalaceKyotoJAPAN
Her Majesty Queen Beatrix
Queen of the Kingdom of the NetherlandsThe Royal PalaceHaagTHE NETHERLANDS
Her Majesty Queen Margrethe IIQueen of the Kingdom of DenmarkThe Royal PalaceKobenhavnDENMARK Her Majesty Queen Sonja
Queen of the Kingdom of NorwayThe Royal PalaceOsloNORWAY
Her Majesty Queen Paola
Queen of the Kingdom of BelgiumThe Royal PalaceBrusselsBELGIUM
Her Majesty Queen Sophia
Queen of the Kingdom of SpainThe Royal PalaceMadridSPAIN
Her Majesty Queen Silvia
Queen of the Kingdom of SwedenThe Royal PalaceStockholmSWEDEN
Her Majesty Queen Mom Rajawongse Sirikit
Queen of the Kingdom of ThailandThe Royal PalaceBangkokTHAILAND
Her Majesty Queen
Elisabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom ofGreat Britain and Northern IrelandThe Royal PalaceLondonGREAT BRITAIN

Her Majesty Queen Halaevalu Mata’aho’Ahom’e
Queen of the Kingdom of Tonga

The Royal Palace



How do you know the war is really over?

How do you know the war is really over?, a video installation 1996.

For videoscreenings, see CV. Video Master on BETA. 14:57 min.

The video was filmed in Vietnam, the USA, and Sweden between December 93 and October 96. It begins with a Vietnamese man who shows and explains that for the first eight years of his life he lived in tunnels as protection from the bombs during the war (there are no Vietnamese living in tunnels today). It ends by explaining that 6000 people are living in tunnels under Manhattan. How do you know the war is really over?

The video is a reflection over how responsibility and guilt are related to each other, and how easy one can change to the other.

The video also includes private conversations about how easy and true it can be to make certain agreements in one relationship and how wrong they can be in another.

Postcards of South Africa

The cover of the postcard packet (23 X 9cm) A shack is usually made of corrugated iron covering a wooden structure.
R= Rand, 1 Rand=10p

Postcards of South Africa, A collaborative work by Madoda Fly Msibi South Africa and Cecilia Parsberg Sweden 2000.

Included in the packets of postcards are six photographs; The White House (as it is commonly called), located in Orlando West, Soweto, has served past and present as a meeting place for people involved in the struggle against apartheid. The blue house and Black and Red shacks are located in Alexandra, and the Green and Yellow shacks are located in Thokoza, completing The Colours of the new South African flag.

From January, 2001, the packets of postcards could be bought at the souvenir stall of Madoda Fly Msibi at Hector Petersen Square in Soweto. 3000 packets=18.000 postcards was printed. All of them were sold by 2004. These panorama photographs and collaborative project has been shared with the buyers and the postcards been sent around the world.

In January 2001 we also went back to every house and shack pictured on the postcards and handed over packets, this was documented on video.

Background and process:  In May, 2000, I, Cecilia Parsberg, visited Soweto. The following month Madoda Msibi, who lives in Soweto, guided me through different townships surrounding Johannesburg. The photographs were taken during these guided visits. We decided to display and sell the selected images at souvenir stalls in the townships where they were photographed.

For the majority of Johannesburg’s inhabitants home is in one of the black townships, surrounding the city.The townships have played a crucial role in the struggle against apartheid. Most white South Africans are ignorant of life in the townships, very few have ever been inside one. The situation is slowly changing, more and more visitors from all over the world come to the townships. They want to see the historical places and some of them also stay over night with a local family. Today there is a growing number of ”whities” living in Soweto, many of them has recently immigrated.


The photographs of the blue house, the black and red schacks are taken in Alexandra. It’s a huge very poor township and a part of Sandton City, a wealthy predominantly white ghetto outside Johannesburg. There are still no guided tours to Alexandra.


The green and yellow schacks are from Thokoza. This township is still divided in areas for coloured indian and black people. It started as a township for black people, in the 70:s the government built houses for the coloureds and in the 90:s houses were built for indians.

Although South Africa has rejected racism, it still collects population statistics on the basis of race. Of the population of about 38 million, some 28 million are black, 5.6 million are white, 3.4 are coloured (ie.mixed race) and 1 million of Indian descent. South Africa’s economy is a mixture of First and Third World with a marked disparity in incomes, standards of living, lifestyles, education and work opportunities.

This piece has been made possible through the SIDA project ”Cultures in Dialogue,” initiated and organized by Bild Museet, Umea, Sweden. I teach as Guest Professor at Umea Academy of Fine Arts, and in this project I taught as Exchange Lecturer in the Fine Arts Department at Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, South Africa, for two months (17 April through 1 June).
This piece is exhibited at BildMuseet, Umea, Sweden. February 25 – May 1, 2001

Private Business

Private Business

First shown at Schaper Sundberg Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden, August through October 1999. ”I can see you but you can’t see me” was shown 2011 in the Lust och Last group show National Museum, Stockholm, also shown in a touring exhibition Konstfeminism throughout Sweden 2005-2006. ”Corner” was sold and placed at the University in Skövde where it caused a lot of discussion and an answer from the Minister of Culture
(se below on this page).

The large size of the prints is necessary to see all the details. They are analog negatives (Hasselblad panorama camera).
The photo series originates from my fictitious idea of an international egg and spermbank accessible to everyone. The first photograph, entitled; The International egg and spermbank is of a city and the air space immidiately above it. The air is also an image of an unlimited space, which stems from the fact that many egg and sperm donators and recievers make contact in cyberspace; the collective fertilization space. Cyberspace does not exist as a space, it could however exists as soon as one acts.

The international egg and spermbank (Lambda process, Analog panorama-negative, C-type print 3mX1,5m.)

Corner (Analog panorama-negative, C-type print 3mX1,5m.)

The house to the left is the only library there is for womens literature in London. The couple has a relationship. There is always a power relation as well as trust in relationships. The structure of our society is built by relationships. The corner is the part that is bearing, as is trust in a relationship.


I can see you but you can´t see me (Analog panorama-negative, C-type print 3mX1,5m.)

The photograph is playing with the viewer’s gaze, the vagina is big as a head – hence the size of the photo in the presentation – and ”the vagina sees the viewer in the eyes” and says ”I can see you but you can see me” and at the same time the woman’s head is gone and her hands make signs for eyes.

Fotot leker med betraktarens blick. Vaginan är stort som ett huvud — därav storleken på fotot i presentationen — och ”vaginan ser betraktaren i ögonen” och säger ”I can see you but you can´t see me” och samtidigt är hennes huvud borta och händerna gör tecken för ögon.



The weathergirl (Analog panorama-negative, C-type print 3mX1,5m.)

This is taken in the back yard of a building where a musician lives.

He records sounds from the atmosphere via these antennas. The woman has braces. She is a witch of today, telling stories and connecting via her braces to her rings to the antennas. Her sayings weaves into the radiowaves.


The Blue Angel Bar (Analog panorama-negative, C-type print 3mX1,5m.)

The woman is balancing and trying to find her axis and relax, the man under her is contemplating his childhood. This act affects the whole shivering moving creative structure of the society. The society is made of relationships. In this way every private and intimate as well as public act by every person is political.


I love myself and I understand you think I´m difficult. (Analog panorama-negative, C-type print 3mX1,5m.)

The fool (Analog panorama-negative, C-type print 3mX1,5m.)

”The fool” is about an inevitable ideal-state-of-mind. To be foolish is a kind of openess. The swan is calmly lying in the trash in her own beauty. It’s stupid to build a nest at such a place, but on the other hand: what can you do?


God is love (C-type print 110 x 70cm)

The photo was placed at the far end of the gallery. The title is taken from the tattoo on her arm.

Scarring is a documentation of a scarring, with an explanatory text mounted beside on the wall. You have a conception about something, an ideology, you are part of a political discussion etc. An experience can cut the belief behind one’s conception. This is how I work.


Så här svarar Kulturministern angående fotot ”Corner” i Skövde.

Fråga för skriftligt svar. Den 20 december

Fråga 2002/03:356 av Yvonne Andersson (kd) till kulturminister Marita Ulvskog om konstnärlig utsmyckning av myndigheter.

Staten byggnader, myndigheter och liknande utsmyckas med stora mängder konst. Konsten ska bidra till en god arbetsmiljö för de människor som arbetar eller vistas i byggnaderna. Konsten köps in av Statens konstråd som ansvarar för den konstnärliga utsmyckeningen av samtliga statliga byggnader. Inköpen görs i samverkan med representanter från den myndighet där konsten ska placeras.Självklart är det svårt att göra alla nöjda när det gäller val av konst till en byggnad. Vissa människor kan vara mycket kritiska till en målning eller en skulptur som andra älskar. I vissa fall kan det dock finnas en bred samstämmighet kring ett verk. På Skövde högskola finns i entrén ett målning som många är kritiska till eftersom den ger associationer som inte alla uppskattar. Målningen föreställer en man som ligger på backen, och en kvinna som står på honom. Så många har nu blivit illa berörda av målningen att högskola beslutat att arbeta för att den ska tas bort. Högskolan får dock inte själva ta bort eller flytta den utan detta måste göras i samråd med Statens konstråd. Trots att högskolan tagit kontakt med Statens konstråd och förklarat att de är missnöjda med målningen har inte konstrådet gett dem tillåtelse att flytta målningen.

Vad avser ministern att göra för att öka myndigheternas möjlighet att påverka den konstnärliga utsmyckningen i deras närmiljö?

Svar på fråga 2002/03:356 om konstnärlig utsmyckning av myndigheter. Den 15 januari

Kulturminister Marita Ulvskog.

Yvonne Andersson har ställt frågan till mig vad jag avser att göra för att öka myndighetens möjlighet att påverka den konstnärliga utsmyckningen i deras närmiljö.Frågan är föranledd av en diskussion som förts efter att ett konstverk av Cecilia Parsberg, tidigare professor vid Umeå konsthögskola och en av våra internationellt mest framstående konstnärer idag, blivit placerat av Statens konstråd i entrén till Skövde högskola. Yvonne Andersson menar att många blivit illa berörda av verket och att högskolan beslutat att arbeta för att det ska tas bort, men att Konstrådet inte gett dem tillåtelse att flytta verket.

Jag delar Yvonne Anderssons uppfattning att man ska efterfråga och respektera brukarens uppfattning om de konstverk som ska placeras i den miljö som är en del av deras vardag och jag menar att det är viktigt att finna goda former för samråd så att denna uppfattning på ett lämpligt sett kanaliseras in i beslutsfattandet. Detta samråd bör präglas av öppenhet från alla parter och en ömsesidig respekt för den speciella kompetens man företräder. Men att man, även med, dessa goda förutsättningar, skulle kunna utesluta alla möjligheter till konflikter i ett sammanhang när man diskuterar och besluar om frågor med koppling till samtidskonsten menar jag är orimligt, om det ens är önskvärt.

Som jag har kunnat inhämta från Konstrådet har de vedertagna samrådsformerna iakttagits i detta projekt. Högskolan i Skövde är ett mindre projekt utan beställda konstverk där man erbjudits möjligheten att föra samrådsdiskussionen genom att verk placerats under en prövotid. Enligt uppgift kommer det nämnda konstverket, som en följd av den diskussion som har förts mellan företrädare för högskolan och Konstrådets projektledare, inte få sin placering i Skövde högskola efter prövotiden. Enligt min uppfattning visar detta att de arbetsformer som Konstrådet praktiserar innebär att brukaren/mottagaren har ett fullgott inflytande över vilka verk som ska placeras i deras arbetsmiljö.

Samtidigt vill jag betona betydelsen av att en verksamhet som Statens Konstråds förmår att föra ut även de senaste och kanske mest krävande konstuttrycken i den offentliga miljön. Detta är en uppgift förenad med vissa uppenbara svårigheter, men som jag menar är central för verksamhetens konstnärliga och kulturpolitiska legitimitet. Dessa konstverk kräver noggranna introduktioner och andra former av uppbackning, men de kräver också ett öppet sinne från mottagarhåll inför det nya och okända.

Det är inte alltid det omedelbara intrycket av ett konstverk som blir det bestående, det är inte heller det mest lättillgängliga och begripliga verket som blir det mest betydelsefulla. Det omdelbara motstånd man kan känna inför något hos ett konstverk kan med tiden visa sig vara det som är dess viktigaste kvalitet. Att betydande samtida konstverk ändå kan visa sig olämpliga att placera i vissa miljöer hör självfallet också till denna bild. Jag har fullt förtroende för Konstrådets förmåga att på bästa sätt hantera dessa svåra avvägningar.

Visiting souls

Visiting souls

Multimedia square was a groupexhibition including: Peter Greenaway, Ben Vautier, Colin Self, Darell Viner, Jårg Geismar, Sachiko Odashima, Arni Gudmundsson, Tom Phillips, Cecilia Parsberg.
The exhibition took place in a stylish building in central London with security guards at the entrance. My intention was to bring the subject of mental gifts into this business orientated area.

Landsdown House, the Saatchi building, London, June 1996


A piece made for the groupexhibition: multimedia square, Landsdown house, London June 1996.

I was present every day in a big open room. On top of the front wall I had put up the sign: Visting souls. I asked the visitors if I might try to draw their soul. I put the drawings (size A4) up on the wall as they were finished.

When drawing I used a simple system, I stuck to a given form, an outline of a torso. During the time I was drawing I looked into the eyes of the person in front of me much longer than I looked at the drawing and much longer than you usually do with a person you don’t know. The result depended on how much each of them agreed to have eye contact. When they looked in another direction I looked at the drawing. This was to maintain the concentration and create a drama of the situation, with respect.
The first visitors were disappointed; -Is this my soul? but when they saw that all of the drawings were similar, they started to compare them and read the small differencies. They also wanted to hear what I saw and how I interpreted them as personalities. Each drawing took about 4 minutes to make.

I was interested in commenting upon the situation when we sit in front of a doctor, therapist, medium etc; the need of being reflected by others and how one transforms and uses it. I also wanted to put people in contact with each other, the people who happened to be there at the same time. It´s a similar thought as the one I had in the concept of the exhibition: Who wants to be like mum and dad?

Performance by the artist and a visitor.

Vietnam, hello bye bye ok

Vietnam, hello bye bye ok, a video installation by Cecilia Parsberg and Erik Pauser 1995.

Shown at Galleri Index, Stockholm, Gallery OTSO Helsinki, Sveaborg / Suomenlinna Helsinki and in ”Anight at the show” Zurich, curator Harm Lux. (10 DigitalBETA-Masters per edition.)

A room: floor, walls and ceiling is black. 10 Monitors, 10 video players. Sound. All the 10 videos are edited at two paces which change every three minutes.

One after another the monitors lights up and goes out with a ”Hello”, showing a Vietnamese child looking directly into the camera.

Second pace: All the monitors shows faces of Vietnamese children looking. 40 different faces are edited in a fast tempo. The rhyme ”hello by bye OK, hello bye bye OK, hello bye bye OK….” is repeated continuously.

The monitors were placed high and low, at a distance and close. At the first pace it is possible to look back at one child at a time. Then it changes, the children are surrounding the viewer in a continous flow in all the monitors. The childrens urge of wanting contact becomes a threat of limitless space.

The filming was made during 2 months in Vietnam 1993.

Who wants to be like mum and dad?

Who wants to be like mum and dad?

A young family with 3 children in Gothenburg started a gallery at their home. They invited one artist per month to exhibit in their home during one year. The gallery At home was open when the family was there. A calendar was made for the following year with a picture and a description of each artist’s project.

I made a T-shirt to each member of the family to put on whenever a visitor came. On the T-shirts there were a face of me blowing up my cheeks, and the text: Who wants to be like mum and dad?
On their TV I showed a video of an animated heart blowing up and down, in and out. The question on the T-shirt started a discussion between the members of the family. Their six year old daughter said she wanted to be like mum and dad, their eleven year old daughter declared that she wanted to be herself. Their two month old son was busy sucking the breast of his mum. The parents were relating the question to their children and also relating it to their own mother and father.

The members of the family wore the piece and became the actual piece, encompassing the visitors.

During this month the family had many discussions with the visitors about family relationships. The family is very sociable and one could always sit down and get a cup of tea or a glass of wine. There were always people coming in, they perhaps did not know each other very well, or even not at all but they came to talk, and to give advice to each other about personal matters.

Those who hunger for life / Painting the landscape

Those who hunger for life (Painting the landscape), dummytext performance and video piece 1994.

A performance in front of the videocamera (6:24 mins). I spurt the colours: White, yellow, brown, green, blue, red and black. Each colour is expressed differently. The act of spitting each colour is performed again in front of the camera and a series of 5 photographs is produced.

I was trained as a painter for eight years. In the history men have been painting landscape — overlooking it, viewing it, as well as overlooking the female body. The work is a play with the idea of/the image of/ the imagination that the female is more obsessed by the emotional, the interior…. Here the woman spits and spurts boundlessly, uncontrollably and soil sometimes the camera lens (the gaze) with color.

The video had its latest screening at Arnolfini Center, Bristol 2002 and the photseries in 2016 atBonniers Konsthall, Stockholm. It was firstly screened at Uddevalla Konstmuseum then at Stockholm Art Fair, received Maria Bonnier Dahlins stipendium for young artists 1966 as well as Otto och Charlotte Mannheimers stipendium. Then screened on tour in the UK.  In Sweden at: SMART Show for New Reality Mix Stockholm. ’Blått snitt’ Moderna Museet Stockholm. Endurance Kulturhuset and The Modern Dance Theatre Stockholm. Gothenburg Filmfestival and ”New Reality Mix” Stockholm. Again in the UK in FRESH video compilation on tour: 5 days at the ICA, London / Videopositive-95, Liverpool / Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff / Ikon Gallery Birmingham / Tate Gallery London. Ferens Art Gallery Hull / Open Hand Studios, Reading / National Film Theatre in London / Ruskin SFA Oxford. The Arches Glasgow. And in Centro Reina Sofia Madrid. And ”Elektroniske underströmmer” Statens Museum for Kunst Copenhagen. (check CV for more details)