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Vanus Labor
Salad Hilowle

For a long time Salad Hilowle has been studying old paintings and sculptures from the history of Swedish art whose subjects are people of the African diaspora. Through his research-based project, Hilowle gives greater depth and expression to this part of Afro-Swedish life as it exists in art. The title Vanus Labor (Vanity’s Labor) comes from David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl’s work from the end of the seventeenth century depicting a group of white children washing a black child. The gesture can be interpreted in different ways. Hilowle’s writing of history tries not to reformulate what we believe we already know, but rather to find ways of getting past it. In order for those ways to be possible, he challenges us not only to search out and notice the anomalies, but also to examine the familiar as though for the very first time. 

Aspect ratio 1,78:1 (16:9)
Prod. format
Duration 00:12:56
Language Swedish
Color Color
Sound Stereo
Year 2021
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About the artist

Salad Hilowle

Salad Hilowle is a filmmaker and artist. His artistic practice revolves around identity, memories and place, His short film “Letter to Sweden” was shortlisted for Goldbaggenomination, and an honorary mention in Tempo Documentary Festival for best short film. The same film was also seen by more than 1 million on TV in 2017. In the same year, Hilowle made artistic decoration at the IFO house in Tierp. 2018

Salad Hilowle grew up in Gävle. He has studied film in Los Angeles at Glendale Community College. After that, he trained as a cultural producer at Linköping University and worked with film and TV productions in Oslo, among other places. His first short film Erinra (2015) was directed, edited, written and photographed by Hilowle during his studies at Konstfack. For his efforts, he was awarded the Filmstadens Kulturstipendium and one of Sweden’s largest scholarships from the Siblings Karin and Erik Engman’s scholarship fund. Hilowle’s second short film Letter to Sweden (2017) received a lot of attention in festival circles and was shown at film festivals around Europe. In 2018, he took his master’s degree in free art at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Hilowle’s cinematography challenges the general picture of what documentary photography is by constantly oscillating between video art and contemporary documentation. Something that distinguishes his two later works Waryaa (2018) and City No. 13 (2020). In 2020, he was awarded the Bernadotte Scholarship for his project Vanus Labor (2021) in making people of African origin visible in Swedish art history.