Connections is a project about relationships and self-reflection where jewelry acts as the catalyst. Jewelry often acts as a tie to culture, tradition, personal and family history and self-expression – and in many cases, a person doesn’t recognize how strong and important these connections are to them until they are directly asked to think about it. So, Connections as project encourages participants to consider the jewelry they own and wear and to think about the significance the items have to them.

Connections as a project takes those ties and turns them into visualizations of stories that might otherwise go untold. In this case, the stories are told in the form of photos and the written word. The project aims to give people a new way to view their jewelry and a means to explore why some of the items are so important to them and how this reflects on who they are.

The images on display are the first photographs for this project where the artist, Anniina Nummela, explores her own connections.

I was born in Muurla, both of my parents are from Uusikaupunki, I carry a Finnish passport, I speak Finnish, and I currently live in Tampere – so by many standards, I am Finnish. But my cultural identity is skewed. At the age of three, I moved along with my family to Tokyo. Seven years later we moved to Beijing. Most of my life and experiences are therefore tethered to Asia, not to Finland.

I have chosen two items of jewellery to represent this duality in my cultural identity – a Finnish Kalevala necklace and a pair of Chinese silver earrings.

The design of my Kalevala necklace is an icon of Finnish jewellery-making and thus was important in helping me feel rooted in Finnish culture whilst living abroad.

Similarly, the earrings with the character 爱 remind me of Asia now that I am back in Finland. The character 爱 means love, and love is what I feel when I think back on the fourteen years I lived in Asia.

My great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and I wore the same cross on the days we were confirmed. Since my confirmation in 2013, I have worn the necklace nearly every day – carrying my great-grandmother’s name and her confirmation date with me.

Although I appreciate the religious and cultural values associated with wearing this cross, I treasure the familial connection much more. The cross has been passed from mother to daughter in my family three times now; it is a tradition in its early stages which I hope continues.

When I was fifteen, I was part of an inseparable trio – Elle, Ria and myself. In 2014, Elle passed away and our trio fell apart, as did my friendship with Ria. But as the first anniversary of Elle’s death approached, Ria and I decided to commemorate the friendship together.

When Elle was with us, we had spoken about getting infinity friendship rings, but we never got around to it with her. So, Ria and I found a jeweller that could custom make the rings for us – rings that would feature a knot in the shape of an infinity symbol and hold the carving ‘era’. I wear my ring all the time. It has been an important reminder to appreciate every friendship and relationship, even the ones that we’ve lost.

Anniina Nummela

Anniina Nummela is an artist based in Tampere, Finland. She practices art with varied mediums, but mainly paper-based techniques, painting, and photography. Through her art, Anniina tends to explore her personal history, mental health, and cultural identity. Anniina, although born in Finland, lived 14 years abroad in Asia; first Japan and then China. Influences of this time and the places she lived reflect in her work through her choice of theme, medium, and technique.

Anniina is currently a Media and Arts student at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, focusing her studies in the study path of Fine Arts. Previous education in the field includes Visual Arts as part of the International Baccalaureate degree program that she completed in 2017 and an Art and Design IGCSE which she achieved in 2015 whilst studying in Beijing.

Anniina Nummela Art

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All content is protected by the copyright law of Finland, copying, presentation or other unauthorized use of the protected material is prohibited. © Anniina Nummela 2020

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