Drina Valley Prospects by Sven Westerlund
Date: 5/3 - 29/3, 2015
Location: CFF - Centre for Photography, Tjärhovsg 44 in Stockholm
For nearly four years, Sven Westerlund traveled back and forth to the town of Gorazde on the River Drina in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Based on his thoughts about what happened during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s, he has visited places, talked to people and tried to understand. But how is it possible for a photographer and artist to approach events as those in former Yugoslavia? How is it possible to depict elaborate violence and genocide, or is it possible at all?
2015 is a memorable year of the events in Bosnia-Herzegovina as it is 20 years since the war ended and the Srebrenica genocide took place. For this reason questions regarding the events are again brought back to life. How can, for example, photography be used in the depiction of war and crises? What questions regarding ethics and aesthetics are actualized when it comes to photographic imaging and portrayal. And, can we in Sweden at all understand experiences as those from former Yugoslavia, since we generally do not have first hand experiences or memories of war, although we se pictures from war around the world on a daily bases in the media.
Many of those who fled the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the neighboring countries, live their lives today in various places in the world. They had to leave their homes and lives head over heels in the belief that they would soon be back. That was not generally the case, a sudden breakup has turned into a state of an ongoing escape, which in some cases seems to last until today. Life had to continue somewhere else, as for instance in Sweden. With a backdrop in narratives as those, Sven Westerlund has with his project established a connection between then and now, between a lost place and our Swedish present life.
He has through this ongoing dialogue created opportunities for those who were there at the time to reflect their experiences in the artistic portrayal, and for the rest of us to reflect our own time. With the benefit of a historical hindsight which let us know how xenophobic tendencies can develop, the exhibition reminds us of the stand for diversity, solidarity and democracy we need to take every day.
Director and curator
The exhibition is part of Tempo Documentary Festival. CFF is supported by the Arts Council, the Cultural Department City of Stockholm, Nordic Culture Fund and the Culture Fund for Sweden and Finland.