Transplanted: Immigrant Stories

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19 February 2021
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Leaving a home and settling in a new one are universal human experiences, commemorated in this sheet of stamps by the sculptor Joel Cole, a Faroese American.

As an island nation, the Faroes have a long history of immigration and emigration.

Even the Faroese with the deepest roots on the islands have ancestors who came from somewhere else: Norway, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland.

Sculptor Joel Cole, born in 1968, first came to the Faroes from the United States on a school exchange program for one year in 1986. He spent time in the Faroes almost every year since then until 2011, when he moved to the Faroes permanently; he lives in Saltnes with his Faroese wife. He has five children, all with roots in the Faroes. 

In this series of six sculptures, Cole celebrates the immigrant experience, both as a universal element of the human story and through the particulars of his own life.

Working with wood harvested from his native state of Minnesota, Cole used the language of forestry when thinking about the process of immigration: to be uprooted, to be transplanted, to be grafted, to wilt, to grow, to thrive.

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These passages, from the shock of leaving the familiar to putting down roots in new soil, are reflected in his Transplanted series, which consists of more than 50 sculptures in total.

The six depicted on these stamps are:

  • "Torn"
  • "Casual Alien"
  • "Round My Edges"
  • "In My Father's Footsteps"
  • "Floral Fireworks"
  • "Full Circle"

Each represents a stage in the passage from foreigner to citizen. Each contains elements of Cole’s native homeland and his adopted homeland.

“Having successfully immigrated to a new country, I have an intimate understanding of the trials and tribulations people go through when they choose to immigrate,” Cole says. “I can also sympathize with those who go through the process unwillingly, forced to flee because of war, poverty, famine, or violence.”

“Now that I’ve lived here in the Faroe Islands for nearly a decade, I am grateful for my family, my friends, my work as a teacher and artist, and, in general, my role in society,” he says. “This gratitude has led me to think about the process I went through, and it’s the inspiration for this series.”

Stamp details

Date of issue: 19.02.2021
Value: 3 x 5,00 and 3 x 17,00 DKK
Numbers: FO 945-950
Stamp size: 28,0 x 42,0 mm
Mini-sheet, size: 106 x 112 mm
Design: Joel Cole
Printing method: Offset
Printer: Cartor Security Printing, France
Postal use: Additional value and inland letters, 0-100 g

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