Photo: Antti Stöckell.

Feelings of Nature exhibition highlights Northern nature relationship


Feelings of Nature is a group exhibition that highlights the Northern nature relationship. The exhibition reflects the growing concern for the environment, current environmental activism and the everyday but deep connection of nature that Northerners have. The artists of the exhibition are based in Lapland and work at the Faculty of Art and Design in the University of Lapland in the fields of arts education and applied visual arts.

Artists are Mirja Hiltunen, Maria Huhmarniemi, Timo Jokela, Anniina Koivurova, Tanya Kravtsov, Elina Härkönen, Annamari Manninen, Marjo Pernu and Antti Stöckell.

One of the artworks in the exhibition is rooted to the Äkäslompolo region. Timo Jokela's video work Kueri's Journey in Äkäslompolo (2020) highlights the villagers' concerns and conflicted feelings caused by the Hannukainen mining project. The video tells about the making of an environmental art work in Äkäslompolo. Jokela made the wooden sculpture with the traditional log construction technique, while invited locals to share their views and thoughts with him. The video recounts a conversation from fishing to tourism, from the mine to the berries of the forest and from the everyday life of the village to the global world. The work presents the layers of Northern environmental culture in a polyphonic way.

Kueri is an old and lost local name for sea trout inherited from the Sámi language of Kemi-Lapland. Maria Huhmarniemi's trout-themed string art brings the theme to migratory fish and hydropower construction, a topic of heated discussions throughout Finland.

Antti Stöckell's work is topical during the April-May spring winter. The space and light of the bogs are attractive in all seasons but especially in the spring winter, when the bog is easily reachable. Stöckell saws pieces from the snow into the landscape and says:

"The depth of the bog speaks to me: there the groundwater meets the earth's surface, filtering through millennial peat layers."

In the exhibition, Annamari Manninen presents the underwater lake landscapes as a photo collage, Marjo Pernu shows landscapes made from birch bark and Anniina Koivurova lithographs on various nature feelings and situations, such as growth and withering. In the work of Tanya Kravtsov and Elina Härkönen, nature meets the built environment.

Mirja Hiltunen expands the theme of the exhibition to an experience of humanity and its normalcy as part of nature with her works Rewilding mind and Don't Go Out Alone. Rewilding mind deals with Alzheimer’s disease and autism spectrum disorders from a neurophysiological perspective, asking, should our general mindset about disability and illness go wild? From what direction good is defined, and what is health when the boundaries of normal are narrowed all the time? The concept of the title of the work, rewilding, is a nature conservation principle that higlights how fragmented and endangered ecosystems do not provide sufficient habitats for endangered species.

The Feelings of Nature exhibition is open in Gallery Kellokas in Äkäslompolo until 26 May, 2021. Opening hours: until 2 May daily from 9 am to 5 pm; as of 3 May Mon–Fri from 9 am to 4 pm.

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