Seija Ulkuniemen valokuvanäyttely "La curación del duelo" (Surutyössä parantaminen) on esillä Espanjassa Granadan yliopiston taiteiden tiedekunnan galleriassa 14.-24.5.2018.
Teos on tehty valokuvaterapeuttisessa hengessä: kuvasarjat kertovat erilaisista rituaaleista, joita Ulkuniemi teki pyrkiessään toipumaan isänsä kuolemasta.
Kokonaisuus on toteutettu yhteistyössä Rosy Martinin kanssa.
Healing in mourning (surutyössä parantaminen)
in collaboration with Rosy Martin
I made these three photo series as part of a meditation upon my Dad who died in a car accident in 2010. I tried to give space to all the emotions from rage to sadness and from a sense of loss to embarrassment. I hoped to get some healing – relief from the immense mourning.
My Dad was born in a smoke sauna in Lapland, in a small isolated village. Later in his life he built a cottage close to his native home. I went to this rural area in a forest, and by the lake started to trifle with some of his belongings.
I wore a Japanese kimono to help myself feel the mystery of a ritual. I took my Dad’s handkerchief and started to play with it with my hands. I put the tissue on my face, and suddenly I could cry out loud, let loose the rage caused by the sudden loss. The handkerchief was so light that it could almost fly like a bird. Could it fly away and take with my heavy heart?
My Dad was a man of the woods: alongside of his job as a teacher, he spent lots of time outside fishing, hunting and working with forestry. He used to wear a fur hat – even in summer time! My Dad’s fur hat with its certain smell evoked in me memories of his presence. I caressed the hat, and started to dance in the lake holding it in my hand, not wearing anything on me. I felt a special kind of freedom and relief as water was taking care of my grieving body. In the end, I put the hat on my head. It gave me comfort: touching it helped me to remember the feeling of safety my Dad gave me.
Finally, I went to back to the village where I nowadays live. My Dad had built here a home where I had lived my teenage years, and had returned to live later in life when I already had my own family with husband and three children. My Dad lived close to us as our neighbor. I had found out that in this village in the bushes close to the river there was an almost decomposed boat with moss. For me it represented both a womb and death. I went under the boat, as into a womb, reached out, and finally crawled on the boat, rested there as having reached the eternal peace. I was thinking that we all have come from the earth, and we will return to earth, but love will go on.
I worked in collaboration with Rosy Martin. We established a deep connection, a relationship of safety and trust in which each could speak of her experiences of bereavement. In this potential space, it became possible to explore inner and outer realities. I directed how I wanted the images to look and with Rosy’s support touched the depths of emotion I wanted to represent. Later I chose and edited the photos I wanted to use to express the process and my feelings.