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To celebrate the Millennium, to celebrate the anniversary of Leiv Erikson´s emigration to America 1000 years ago and taking into account that it was 175 years since the official emigration from Norway started, in 1997 the leader of the committee of the now well known Utvandrer­festivalen in Kvinesdal, Magda Dugan, with help from Arthur Svennevik, took the initiative to raise a monument in Kvinesdal commem­orating the large migration from Sørlandet. When the norwegian national day, May 17, was celebrated in New York that year, Dugan received a gift of thousand dollars from Norwegian-American Arthur Nilsen. These money was the first contribution to the Emigration Monument of Sørlandet. Kvinesdal is the community in Sørlandet with most emigration, hence the location of the monument. The plan was to unveil the monument during Utvandrerfestivalen in 2002 in co-operation with «Sørlandet i 100», which was a festival celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the name «Sørlandet». The monument will enhance the strong bonds still existing between Norway and «Det norske Amerika».
To carry through the plans a committee consisting of four persons was appointed: Arthur Svennevik (Grimstad), Anders Mathias Larsen (Kvinesdal), Magda Dugan (Kvinesdal) and Toralf Haugland (Kvinesdal). Svennevik was a great pioneer in this work. He passed away in a tragic accident in desember 1999. A few months later the committee was extended with five persons from various parts of Sørlandet: Marit Svennevik (Grimstad), Kåre Svindland (Kvinesdal), Bjøro Håland (Kristiansand), Harald Thygesen (Arendal) and Toralf Watne (Hægebostad). Thygesen was appointed as the leader of the committee. It was decided that the monument should be made in bronze, live size, and that it should be portraying a family: A father, mother and son, bidding a last farewell to their old father. The sculptor was Tore Bjørn Skjølsvik, born and raised in Tvedestrand, now residing in Oslo.