Throughout my career I have been drawn to artists who use their practice as a means of exploring space and time. Not in the astronomical sense, but on an earthly, human level. Knutte Wester is such an artist.
Wester understands the critical underpinnings of the human experience as well as the ability of art to not only inspire, but to also empower those who have been disenfranchised and silenced by the machinations of economics, politics, and xenophobia.
By sharing the stories of marginalized individuals struggling with displacement and loss, Wester gives them the dignity of being heard. Equally as important, he shows us the connection between seemingly disparate situations taking place around the world - from Sweden to Brooklyn.
Wester uses film, photography and sculpture to provoke broader philosophical discussions about life and our responsibilities to one another as human beings. He offers an understanding that suffering, in all its forms, deserves consideration and a response. This is both challenging and necessary.
From our initial meeting last year in New York City I felt the urgency of Wester’s art. As a child I briefly experienced the trauma of not having a permanent home. However brief my personal experience, it had an enduring effect on my life and changed the way I view the world. I do not suppress these childhood memories, but rather I keep them and gain inspiration from them. This is the power of struggle to make us see the world with new eyes.
By using his practice to give a voice to undocumented refugees, homeless individuals, and other vulnerable members of society, Wester illustrates the importance of having a sense of belonging and stability, as well as the fleeting, unpredictable nature of life that puts all material things in jeopardy of slipping away and vanishing into thin air.
New York City, 2016