Children of Paradise
By Juuso Westerlund
We are living in a time where everything is measured with a calculator, where the Nordics have achieved freedom, peace and economic security, but at the same time the mental state of the culture has declined to a primitive level. Our culture has become marketing. Trying to get people to do what you want them to. It’s what drives our consumer culture. It’s what drives our politics; it’s what drives our art. The world is very scary now. It always has been. But something grotesque and specific to our time is blanketing us. We need to see that it is not reality; it is a choice we are making or allowing other people to make for us.
Juuso Westerlund’s project Children of Paradise, is a documentary project about people who either swear in the name of a neoliberal agenda or for some other strong belief want to get rid of the current system that the Nordic welfare states are built on.
The welfare state based on social democracy is perhaps the most famous of the key elements of the Nordic model. Westerlund, who himself is a product of a time when this was the only ideology agreed on, witnesses how this no longer applies today. In his project he finds and portrays people who do not agree, or even despise these ideas and want to disassemble the welfare state that they themselves are products of.
Juuso Westerlund (b. 1975) fulfilled the Bachelor Degree in Photography at Turku Arts Academy 1997-2001, Finland. After Turku he completed the Masters of Arts degree in Photography in 2001-07 at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki (UIAH).
During and after the MA studies Westerlund has taken part in a number of national and international art and photography shows and has also held a number of solo exhibitions.
His first monograph Karaoke Nation was published in 2008. His project Jackpot has been exhibited in 5 european cities starting from in January 2017 at Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center in Budapest in January 2017 and ending in Bratislava November 2017.