Dear Rikard 10 (Kjære Rikard)

The Loneliness of a Childhood

Lene Ask works with both documentary and fiction and has published four graphic novels, several picture books and young-adult fiction. Reasently she has won much acclaim for her second book about children of Norwegian missionary’s.

Judging by the cover, her graphic novels may look innocent. They are nothing of the sort. «O bli hos meg» (referring to Henry Francis Lyte´s old psalm Abide with me) is a documentary of ten missionary children, and how their wellbeing were sacrificed “for a greater cause”.

The novel is a follow up on Dear Rikard, the story of a boy who grew up in a home for missionary children in Norway while his father worked as a missionary in Madagascar for ten years. This story is based on the exchange of letters between Rikard and his father, found in Stavanger City Archive.

Ask sees herself as a visual storyteller. In her graphic novels she works with the tension between words and images, describing it as filling the gap between told stories or letters, and drawing what she “reads between the lines”.

Ask is an excellent drawer, her works are poetic and beautiful. In our gallery we present original works from Dear Rikard, and also drawings from a leaflet Ask made about the Norwegian poet Olaf H. Hauge and his wife to be, Bodil Cappelen. The pictures reveal Hauge´s shy personality and the fragile beauty of their relationship, in drawings of small gestures.

We congratulate Ask with the fantastic revues on her new book and thank her for bringing their stories into the light. All though not all of the missionary’s children were abandoned or mistreated, especially not in resent time, too many of them suffer from childhood traumas.