Project Description

A moment without home

“In spring 2007, my family and I took a long trip to Latvia. The country is filled with monuments; each new occupying power has built their own. Erecting new monuments is a way to write history. The current ruling power in the spring 2007 is called the Free Market, and it too has erected its monuments.

This is our first trip as a little family. I have children on the brain. Despite explosive economic growth, thousands of Latvian children have no one taking care of them. These children grow up in orphanages, not altogether unlike the orphanages and farmed-out children my grandmother told me about from her childhood in Stockholm. They wait, like my grandmother once did, for their journey. Both symbolically and purely practically, they always have a bag packed. Like refugees in their own country, they wait. They wait to become part of society. They wait to be wanted, in Latvia or elsewhere. Anywhere. The ones I befriended at the orphanage in Riga are part of Latvia’s contemporary history. But no one will commission a monument to them. So we made one ourselves.

The group consisted of seven-year-olds. During our work, one of the girls, Aleshja, got new parents in Italy. But she wanted to be part of the monument, so the children and I made a cast of her arm the day before she left. The next time I saw the children, her best friend said, ‘Aleshja is in Italy, but her arm is still here with us.’ Then she pointed at me with the plaster arm and said, ‘Now I understand what we’re doing!’ In that moment, so did I.”

Knutte Wester

Riga, May 2007

Owner: INAB and Umeå Kultur