UNITY – Stimulus

Nowadays, we have more tools that allow us to dive deeper into the facets of human existence. By exploring the intimate aspects of oneself, an artist may address relevant and universal matters. The moments of struggle might seem lonely, but we can take comfort in knowing that those moments are the shared experiences that make us human.  

A Blue Circle Story by Seyoon Yoon

Mixed media / Original page size 14 x 14 cm

This book is about emotional manipulation. Seyoon Yoon was inspired by her own experiences and other people’s stories.

“Although it is a serious subject, I tried to make my work easily approachable and not too heavy. I decided to write a short and easy story. I wrote the sentences very simply, almost as if it were for a children’s’ book. I also made illustrations that followed the concept.”

At first sight, the work will appear to be a light story book, but behind the simpleness there is strong meaning.

Yoon has witnessed many people emotionally manipulated in the past and sees how they are still having to deal from it, some suffering of mental illnesses and other issues. Through her work, Yoon wants to highlight this manipulation and its effects.

Sisu by AnyDot

Moving Image / 2’38’’

These weird times we are living in give rise some of the darkest feelings that people experience. Despair is portrayed in this short fiction movie. It shows a man trying his best to stay positive despite the shadow hanging over him. The movie was shot in isolation during the 2021 Corona-virus lockdown and reveals a fraction of the resolve that artists need to have in order to make art that contributes to improved mental health.

The Finnish word “sisu” is a hard to translate, but it is a concept that means something akin to perseverance and acting rationally in the face of adversity. It is something that is needed now.

Exhausted by Isa Kiviaho

Photography series

“This series was born during a fun day with my friend’s son. He was tired at a café, lying on the ground and I took a picture of him. Then came the idea to photograph him in every place we went to that day. I see these pictures as symbolic: In this time, where social media is rolling around us 24/7, and everything must happen immediately, I see people get exhausted from it.”

As The World Falls Down by Janina Tauriola

Digital painting

“As The World Falls Down” is a digital art piece mainly inspired by the David Bowie song of the same name. It is about that sense of something being wrong even when you are surrounded by beautiful things.

”My creative process usually begins with a sudden wave of inspiration, either from a song, clothing, or just the idea of a pose or a colour palette. Then, I sketch the idea and tweak it until it resembles that feeling it awakened in me when I imagined it.”

”Faces and flowers are my favourite elements to draw, which is strongly showcased in this particular piece. This work will be printed into a canvas painting in the future, as an addition to my collection of physical copies of my work.”

The Obsession by Jan Pitkäsalo

Charcoal and pencil on paper / 50 x 65 cm

A story about struggling with death in the family, and as a consequence, with the thought of revenge. Our main character, Kari Volkov, finds out his cousin was the musician Ares, now deceased, murdered. Kari, obsessed by the lyrics of the musician’s songs, starts planning his revenge on the three people who were involved in the murder.

“The artwork is based on the true story about my second cousin, who was allegedly murdered on Christmas Eve in 2020, by three people, including his wife. I later found out from my mother’s aunt that he was my second cousin, and the thought of this kind of thing happening to a family member felt even more dreadful. The intention of the project is to bring out those feelings of dealing with loss and coming to terms with being unable to truly punish those who harm people who are closest to us.”

The series of drawings is made with charcoal and pencil on paper. Through his process, the artist wanted to create a world and characters that are believable, but not insensitive towards his second cousin and his passing.

Halla by Eevi Siniketo

Photography series

“Halla” is a series of photographs of a person called Halla, situated in her home. The series is named after the model because her name is symbolic and can be associated with the current existing moment.

During the pandemic we spend most of our time at home. How does it make us feel and what goes through our minds? We look out of the windows to see others but end up reflecting ourselves. When alone so much, we are forced to look inside ourselves. It is time for a self-examination, it is time for new discoveries of ourselves, and it is time to stop and listen to yourself? Ask: how do these times affect me and am I able to cope with the thoughts that will rise?

Twisting and Turning by Saara Kankare

Mixed media / 29,7 x 42 cm

The subject in Twisting and turning is simple: sleeping. Sleeping should be a mundane ritual in one’s life, a ritual that prepares you for the next day that is to come. For some people however, the quietness of the night is anything but peaceful. The lack of stimuli can send one’s mind into a place, where it starts to go over things that are going wrong in their life.

”I am an overthinker, and at night time, the quietness makes me believe, that I’m all alone in this big unpredictable world.”

Paper, Plane by Yu-Hsuan Harjula

Acrylic on canvas / 60 x 40 cm

The viewers are the ones to decide whether the paper is ascending or falling. This is the central idea of the painting.

“I was very emotional when I painted this work and in the end it became a healing process for me. To be angry, or to let go, the final decision lays on me”.

I Must Still Have Hope by Natalia Nguyen

Watercolor and brush pen on paper /

Watercolor and brush pen on paper / 41 x 32 cm

The past year has no doubt been rough for most. As 2020 dragged on, Nguyen often found herself remembering a certain Van Gogh quote to help her stay positive. The quote, which acts as the narration for this piece, reminds us that though it may feel like summer will never come in the middle of a bitterly cold winter, we must hold on to hope and know that better times will come. She found this to be quite relevant to the current state of the world, not only in terms of the pandemic, but also in political events, her personal life, and even the literal winter and its darkness. As the quote says, as hard as things may be, there are still brighter days ahead.

The artist especially wishes to express that this future cannot be taken for granted—as the visual metaphor of persistently trudging through the snow indicates, perseverance and effort in following safety measures like wearing masks and avoiding gatherings are vital to reaching the “summer,” or pandemic-free future.

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