(Un)expected

Rob van Hoesel

Graphic | Photography | Publication

A photo project about the coping process of the next of kin in cases of suicide in West Flanders. In 2008 the mother of documentary photographer Peter Dekens (Belgium) took her own life. West-Flanders, the region where he grew up, has a fairly high percentage of suicides in any case: one and a half times the European average and twice as many as in the Netherlands.

(Un)expected consists of five graphic novels about the coping process of the next of kin in cases of suicide. It visualizes the ways in which the bereaved deal with their loss in their own specific way: the grief, the mourning process, but also the attempts to find a new path in life. Dekens wants the book to support the next of kin and to make the taboo regarding suicide a discussable topic among a wider audience.

(Un)expected was awarded a silver medal at the Schönste Bücher aus aller Welt. From the jury report: “The observer experiences this publication as a filmic reportage. In very concrete images, it manages to formulate the sorrow, remembrance and puzzlement that occupy the minds of the deceased’s traumatised relatives. Free of pathos, this sensitive examination confronts us with a taboo. It inspires us to be attentive and stay awake when language falls silent and lonely eyes lower apprehensively.”

Author: Peter Dekens
Design: Rob van Hoesel
Printer: Wilco Art Books
Publisher: The Eriskay Connection

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