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Moved by Nature exhibition at Finlandia university

I’m working with an exhibition called “Moved by Nature”. The exhibition will be presented from the 21st of September until the 14th of October, 2017 at Finlandia University Gallery in Hancock, Michigan. This is a collaboration with artists Taina Kontio and Riitta Ikonen. The inspiration for the exhibition rose from the themes of ancient Finnish and Kalevala mythologies that often personalize entities of nature and the stream of life and water.

My personal artwork is called “Piece of Heaven, Piece of Earth”. It is a collaborative artwork where the center piece is digitally printed batiste cotton textile of 1,4 x 3 metres. Images in this textile represent melting Kemijoki in spring and clouds in the Rovaniemi sky. The textile work was very much inspired by my colleague Taina Kontio working with Riverness, the most beautiful and meditative video art on her family saga related to waters.

I’m asking the kind people of Hancock to bring to the exhibition “a Piece of Earth”, a small plant from their homes or gardens. Hopefully the floor in the front of the textile will be a blooming autumn garden during the exhibition.

While working with this artwork I’ve been thinking about the Eco-centered system of our ancestors. Here in Finland, we still have our ways of listening to the nature as we ask “Ahti”, our ancient “God of Waters” to bless us with fishing. In similar ways many indigenous peoples still respect and ask for permission to enjoy the plenitudes of nature. Our system has become human-centered which is of course better that placing industries in the center.  Yet, some of us are asking if we should rather be just one part of the system, not in the control of it.

Some researcher and educator are doing wonderful work in bringing subjects like gardening in the art and design curricula. Some students that origin from the mega-cities do not recognize the roots of the plants nor have ever had an opportunity to plant anything.

I think that our exhibition is taking part in the dialogue about Eco-centered system. How the nature centered mythologies manifest themselves in modern times?

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