“When I do my work and I am exposed to the suffering of others – their loss or, at times their death – I feel I am serving as a witness; that is my role and responsibility to create a record for our collective memory. Part of this, I believe, has to do with notions of accountability. Perhaps it is only in their moment of suffering that these people will be noticed, and noticing erases our excuse of saying one day that we did not know.
But I also feel that it is in this very delicate and fragile space that surrounds death, the space that I sometimes have both the privilege and the burden of entering, there exists the possibility of an encounter with the other in a way that goes beyond words and culture and differences . It is about being exposed for a moment in front of each other and in front of the act and mystery of dying. In that moment I feel I am looking at something that I can’t completely see but that is looking at me. It is in this exchange that something simultaneously universal and deeply intimate can be found; in the death of the other there is a loss that belongs to everyone.” – Paolo Pellegrin