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Our Beloved Sibylla

Our Beloved Sibylla

Sunday 7 September 2008, by I-WEI LI

Together with Swedish artist Sofie Nohrstedt, we decided to give a funeral to the former fast food kiosk, Sibylla, in Vilhelmina, Sweden. This kiosk used to be THE meeting place for local young people but now, it has been trashed and abandoned for years.

Our installation soon gathered attentions from the locals, including neighbours nearby, teenagers, even the daughter of former owner. We invited them to join us by painting their favorite fast food on cardboards and placing them around the kiosk for a new look. Surprisingly, the asylum seekers were most eager to show us what Kebab should look like, 6 middle aged men spent hours discussing the size of onions and shape of Kebab - they really wanted their culture to be visible. One by one, the young children also picked up the paint brush and started to draw what a hamburger could be. They were shy in the beginning but soon got excited with the colourful expression. Passing by teenagers also became curious, at the end they were very involved with the decoration, even climbed up to the roof to help us.

In less than 14 hours, we had different groups of people mixed and worked together. Normally, they would not talk to each other. In fact, most locals ignored the asylum seekers whenever possible. Somehow through this simple art practice, they were together and open to each other. It was brief but it was real.

This project is accomplished during the Tomma Rum artist residency program in 2008. Special thanks to the Vilhelmina Town Hall for the assistance.


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