Life on the move

Northern Photographic Centre, Oulo (Finland)

03.03.2017 – 23.04.2017

Friday 3.3.

Artis talk and vernissage 17-19 

Talk about people moving from a country to another has taken over the discussion in the social media as well as the speeches of the politicians these days. Exhibition touring in the Nordic countries reminds us that all living things have always been on the move, and always will.

In the autumn 2015 the arctic north stood out into the spotlight of international attention when thousands of asylum seekers suddenly travelled to the border cities of the north in order to find a safer environment for living for themselves and their families. In the west through Tornio more than 4000 asylum seekers arrived to Finland on a weekly basis. In the east the asylum seekers strove to northern Norway via Russia and to Finland via border station of Salla. Refugees arrived in the middle of the northern winter frost and strove to the border stations with bicycles and old ramshackle cars. The amount of asylum seekers evoked a lot of discussion all around, and opinions escalated both in favour of and against asylum seekers.

The actual discussion about immigration and asylum seekers as well as the societal, politicaland social questions related to it is on the background of the “Life on The Move” exhibition and the series of public discussions organized in connection to the exhibition. While going through the theme the focus is not only on asylum seekers and refugee issues, but the theme is dealt with a wider perspective through the concept of migration. The concept of migration means relocating, wandering, migration and movement, and it is not limited only to people, because also culture and language as well as plants and animals are relocating and migrating.

The exhibition Life on The Move gives a new type of face to the current questions of asylum seekers and refugees. Exhibition and the series of discussions bring to front on the other hand the diversity of migration and on the other hand movement as a natural part of life, not only a question related to exile. Migrating and relocating from a place to another is a prerequisite of life to humans, animals as well as plants.

The exhibition Life on the Move is a part of the cooperation of the Art Transit North network. The aim of the network is to make the art and artists of the North better known, to create cross-disciplinary artistic cooperation and to strengthen the accessibility of art in the north. The members of the network are, along with The Northern Photographic Centre, Arkhangelsk International Cultural Centre from Northern Russia, Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter from Svolvaer, Norway, Pikene på Broen from Kirkenes, Norway and Havremagasinet From Boden, Northern Sweden.  The ideas behind exhibitions and events have been generated together with the network members and those tour around in the north in Norway, Sweden, Russia and Finland.

Artists and art works

Kristin Tårnes examines the theme through a plant. The video work by Tårnes, ”Den innvandrende, invaderende palmen” tells the story of the plant ”Tromsø palm” arriving to Norway, as well as the stories and myths related to it and the future of the plant.

Jet Pascua, a Norwegian-Filipino artist works based on the immigration experiences that he himself and his family have. Pascua combines these experiences both to historical and actual political questions. The ensemble of works displayed in the Exhibition  ”Water Always Seeks The Line of Least Resistance” consists of series of separate paintings, drawings and works made of lost and found items.

When talking about wandering and migration it is often forgotten that languages and culture also move from a place to another. Transparlingua, an art work by Nogr , a Russian pair of artists Nadia Degtyareva and Nick Degtyarev examines the transformation and movement of languages and manners of communicating  when different cultures meet. The video work ”Transparlingua” introduces the pidgin language that has developed on the border areas of northern Norway and Russia because of the need for daily communication.

Knutte Wester, an artist from Sweden, got familiar with paperless asylum seekers living in Sweden during autumn 2012. This encounter was the starting point for Wester’s video work “Where the border runs” which tells about the life of the paperless asylum seekers in Sweden. Wester combines installations, video works and drawings in his production. Thematically Wester often deals with those who live outside the society, such as extramarital mothers in Poland, Latvian orphans or the homeless of New York.

“Nature Morte”, installation by Mexican-Swedish artist Pilar de Burgos consists of dozens of fabric dolls and it represents the mankind and questions the psychological, physical and mental relation that one has with oneself and the people around. De Burgos encourages the audience to touch these human-sized dolls in the space. At the same time she reminds the viewer that one has the power to choose if one treats other equally or oppressively. Sound Design: Daniel Hidalgo Valdés.

Pair of artists Rainio & Roberts go back in the history of Finnish immigration with their video work “Some we kept, some we threw back”. The film tells about the discrimination that the Finnish immigrants had faced in The United States in the beginning of the 20th century.  The narrator of the film looks back at the reasons for which his family left their home country: starvation, unemployment and political persecution. He tells how they were not-welcome immigrants who experienced discrimination and racism for a long time.

Nature photographer and writer Heikki Willamo has chosen a series of black and white photographs of foreign species that have settled into Finnish nature either because of human actions or arrived to Finland after better living conditions into Life on The Move exhibition from his wide animal imagery.

There will be a series of public discussions organised during the exhibition. Each discussion deals with the theme of migration from a different point of view, such as plants or fishes migrating.

 

 

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