Powerful visual stories about being next of kin
Published January 14th 2022
"The Kintsugi Project exhibition in 2021 at the market square in Trondheim, Norway". Photo credit: © Brynhild Bye-Tiller

Written by
Brynhild Bye-Tiller
On June 26th 2021 an outdoor photo exhibition opened on the market square in Trondheim, Norway. Seven women used the Covid-19 pandemic to learn mobile photography as part of an art project. Through 25 photographs, they raised questions about being next of kin for a family member or a partner.

"Life is an uncertain project for all of us. Sometimes other people need our support. The vast majority of us will be a next of kin during our lifetime. Being next of kin gives a good feeling of fulfilment and meaning, but it can also present challenges and dilemmas", says Lisbeth Lein, participant and partner in the project.
The first iteration of The Kintsugi Project was exhibited in Trondheim in summer 2021, with a second exhibition in Levanger and a third at Studio 44 in Stockholm.

– The participants has made a very powerful exhibition. They document realities of being next of kin and they share personal stories. Using their resources and not least their courage, to stand up and display their lives. Too many for the very first time, says Brynhild Bye-Tiller the artist behind the project. Bye-Tiller has previously explored questions about gender, social injustice and immigration.
The Kintsugi Project was an art project based on a photographic social art practice. The methods and the structure of the project made this clear. The project was developed by artist Brynhild Bye-Tiller in cooperation with For Prisoner's next of kin (FFP), South-Trøndelag Red Cross and North-Trøndelag Red Cross by Network after serving time, Door Opener and Good Head/ABC and also LINK Trondheim.

The name Kintsugi comes from a Japanese craft tradition, where one puts together the bits from a broken ceramic bowl with gold. To make it yet stronger and even more beautiful. The creative process in developing the exhibitions was repair work that dealt with both positive and negative aspects of kinship relations.

The Kintsugi Project was supported by Trøndelag County Council, Trondheim municipality and NBK Vederlagsfondet.

© 2021 Brynhild Bye-Tiller. All Rights Reserved.