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Exhibition “Independence Through the Lenses”

Date: 22 September 2017 00:00 - 29 October 2017 00:00



M. Žilinskas Art Gallery, Nepriklausomybės Sq. 12, Kaunas


Backlight Photo Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary and Finland’s 100 years of independence by organizing an exhibition tour of  Finnish photographic artists in Europe. The tour Independence Through the Lensesis realized together with the Backlight Photo Festival and its international partners in Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Lithuania, and Latvia as part of the Programme on the centenary of Finland ´s independence in 2017. The artists presented at M. Žilinkas Art Gallery are Sara Hornig, Riitta Päiväläinen, Harri Pälviranta, Juha Suonpää, and Juuso Westerlund.

Cultural traditions, the history told and the history left untold – tales and beliefs, all shape our experiences of ourselves as individuals as well as a nation. They affect our ways of seeing and looking at ourselves and at others. National identity can meld us into familiar characterisations, but it can also give us momentary uniqueness. The uniqueness of Independence Through the Lenses – tour is more quotidiar than ceremony speeches. It shows the everyday heroism of coping, managing and letting go, carrying along the memories and the past as part of oneself.

Harri Pälvirantas recent series Military Dispatch (2017) and Juha Suonpääs video installation IBIDEM (2017), go through the Finnish wars in relation to today; Pälviranta in national and individual level and Suonpää concretely in the city of Tampere, which was one of the main battle fields of the Finnish civil war in 1918. Same shoulders of the dead soldier carry both cloaks, the one of national glory and the one victim, the sorrow from the near ones left behind.

Sara Hornigs Half of Us –series reveals the life alongside depression. One in five Finns suffer from depression during their lifetime. Already half of the 5 millions population has a friend or a relative that suffers from depression. Loneliness creates a space with no entrance for the others.

Riitta Päiväläinen’s Imaginary Meetings, inklings serve as passages between memory and oblivion, between presence and absence. The scenery, and the space Päiväläinen has created into it, the vanishing traces and vestiges allow us to imagine what might have happened previously, or what as well might yet to come.

Juuso Westerlund returns to Kainuu region where the stories for Finlands national epic Kalevala where collected. What would these famous Finnish characters and heroes from the epic, first published in 1835, be like today? What kind of person would be todays shaman Väinämöinen or Seppo Ilmarinen, the classical hero? Even today the roots, and a sense of belonging create comfort and refuge, an emotional bond and an idea of a place you can always go back to.

 Exhibition works: 22 09 201729102017

Curator Tuula Alajoki

The exhibition is organized by the invitation of "Kaunas Photo" festival.

The Lithuanian part of Independence Through the Lenses – tour is supported by the Finnish Embassy in Vilnius.