Elin Høyland: Brother | Sister
'Brother | Sister' tells the story of Edvard and Bergit Bjelland who grew up with their parents and siblings on a small farm in a remote part of Norway on the south-west coast. The farmhouse itself dated back to 1800s and is now a listed building. Edvard was the fourth generation of his family to have owned the farm and had kept horses, cows, pigs, hens and over one hundred sheep. When Elin Høyland first met him, his sister Bergit had recently died, most of the livestock had been sold off and the land rented out. Edvard lived alone looking after just a handful of sheep.
Edvard had been the only one to stay on the homestead, though his sister Bergit eventually moved back into the farmhouse with him, after living several years in the city of Stavanger. In the late 1970s she moved out again, but this time to a new house that she had built just a stone’s throw from her childhood home. Bergit died in 2011 and Edvard now looks after her house.
This is a story of two very different lives, lived within a matter of yards of each other. Whilst the physical distance separating Edvard and Bergit may have been minimal, their emotional and lifestyle choices are so far apart. Through her photographs Høyland explores these choices, the different dreams and needs that the brother and sister sought to fulfill, whilst award winning Norwegian novelist and poet, Gaute Heivoll provides a short fictional piece inspired by the images. The collaboration is both absorbing and moving.
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