Barbara Le Svarre
Specialist in Islamic Studies
KOKOON Portraits # 1

In high school Barbara Le Svarre used to love Danish lessons. Once she got into the wonders of analysing texts she knew that she had found something she not only loved but was good at. Today, she applies her analytical mind and critical thinking to Islamic studies and holds an MA in the subject.

What turning points have helped define who you are today?

When I first began to dig deeper into the history of the Middle East I was filled with indignation at how it had all played out. How countries in the Middle East had suppressed themselves as well as the West had. It was almost like an awakening to be able to put into words the injustice of their history. This is something I carry with me to this day. I try not to demonise ‘the Other’ and I want us to stop falling into the trap of stereotypes. On a personal level divorcing my husband and then getting back together with him has changed me. To accept the love I choose in its prerogative shape. It is anything but settling, it is acknowledging the difference between imagined and real love.

How is work for you on a daily basis?

Most days I have no idea what will happen and I thrive on it.

What is important to you?

My family. But also very much my job. And still being able to follow a third passion, namely interior design, means a lot, too, and I’ve recently opened a web shop, deuxieme.dk.

When are your limits challenged?

My sense of justice is very strong and I react instantly on what I find to be unfair. I once threatened a man in a speeding car while my son was on the back of my bike. I caught up with him at a red light and was infuriated. It turns out the car was full of gang members and one of them came out, ready to shut me up, so I started to yell even louder to attract people’s attention and in the end his boys dragged him back into the car. I keep getting myself into situations like that.

Have you met a person who made you see things differently?

When I was a young exchange student in the US, my art teacher had me believe that I was talented within the arts. It was quite fun to look at myself as an arty person, at least for a short period of time.

What annoys you?

When people spit in the street.

Do you cry easily?

No. But I would like to. I am too good at maintaining control.

What does it mean to love?

To be able to forget yourself while still being yourself in regards to the person subjected to your love.




Baseball gameWall Hanging by WKNDLA from deuxieme.dk


Favourite home office spotPhoto: Christian Als