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A Bastard Child

November 15, 2016


As a child, artist Knutte Wester often visited his grandmother Hervor. She would tell him stories: not about princes or princesses, but about her own turbulent life, which was far from easy. Her descriptions were so vivid that he was able to see it all right before his eyes; years later, he recorded these images in watercolor paintings. In a mix of art and documentary, he retells the story of his grandmother in animations he created from these watercolors. Hervor talks about how she was born a “bastard child” and placed with various foster families and orphanages by her mother, who was too poor to care for her. Illustrated by archive footage, her experiences give an impression of how Swedish society dealt with single mothers and children born out of wedlock in the early 20th century. Hervor became a pioneer of women’s rights, and her story serves as not only a reminder of the mechanisms of social control, oppression and rejection, but also a testimony to the possibility of change within society.

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