Commissioned by PhotoIreland Festival, Finnish artist Hertta Kiiski will present a new body of work called Milky Way. It is a shrine and a playground that explores co-existence between us and other life forms.
“I approach the ecological catastrophe and animal rights through the emotions and feelings they awaken. At this moment I think that empathy is the key to dispelling the artificial division between humanity and the rest of nature, and to ending the culture of oppression and exploitation – it could work as a bridge to a more equitable coexistence. Collaborating with my teenage daughter and niece I highlight the fact that our children have to deal with the catastrophe we are leaving to them.”
Milky Way addresses the topic of animals treated as milk-producing machines. The human urge to achieve domination over other species crystallises in the act of long-distance transport of unweaned calves. Despite its heart-breaking starting point, the work deals with love and hope for a better future. The installation and performance evoke questions around topics of empathy, ethics and companionship between human beings and other species. The work is aimed at all but particularly at young audiences, achieved through the young protagonists, colours, haptic materials, elements of play and thought-provoking content.
Exhibition Guide: Young Milky Way Explorers
In response to Hertta Kiiski’s Milky Way installation, Dublin based visual artist Róisín White has created an exhibition guide aimed at our younger visitors to investigate and navigate the artwork. These guides will encourage young people (and their families) to take a closer look at the exhibition, to consider the materials used (yes! you can touch this exhibit!), the themes and questions the work poses, and suggest ways that you can make your own artistic response when you get home.
Guides will be available in the gallery space and as a PDF online. Please share your response artworks with email@example.com or you can tag the artist @how_fascinating and festival @photoirelandfst on social media!
The installation will be launched during opening week at Project Arts Centre, later moving to Rathfarnham Castle to join the main group exhibition Bite the Hand That Feeds You.
On PhotoIreland Festival 2021
How we eat is powerful, food is often the cornerstone of cultures, ideologies, and principles. Eating or not eating can be an act of protest, feeding or not — an act of control, food brings people together and pushes them apart. Through the presentation of current work and a number of commissions, PhotoIreland Festival presents artists exploring this contentious, yet every day, topic.
PhotoIreland Festival takes its cue from current conflicts and affairs, inviting artists to discuss complex social and global issues. With topics ranging from hospitality to colonisation, from hunger to overconsumption, trauma to technology, ethics to ideologies, to sustainability, and even surveillance capitalism. The festival brings together traditional and contemporary lens-based works, alongside film and performance, serving a cornucopia of engaging and relevant material through exhibitions, an online cooking channel, talks, and publishing, with works never before shown in Ireland.
The programme does not claim an all-encompassing representation of food-related issues but is intended as a way to invoke questions, ideas, and research. The festival brings forth questions and considerations towards a conscious and informed consumption. We invite the audience to take a seat at our table and join the conversation on the politics and poetics of food.
Left Image: Portrait of the artist Hertta Kiiski and performers Irma and Elli, by Viivi Saikkonen, 2021.
Right Image: Róisín White. Portrait courtesy of the artist.
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Hertta Kiiski is a Finnish artist working with photography, moving image, objects, space and oftentimes with animals and her daughters. Her works usually deal with love, empathy and the relationship between human and non-human. She has an MFA from Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (2015) and a BA in Photography from Turku Arts Academy (2012).
Her work has been presented in galleries and museums in Finland and internationally – including a retrospective solo exhibition at Finnish Museum of Photography 2019. Her second book I was an apple and I got peeled – but it was a good thing was published 2016 by Kehrer Verlag (GER). She is also the chairwoman of the board at artist-run gallery Titanik in Turku (FI).
Róisín White is a visual artist based in Dublin, working primarily with photography, while incorporating drawing, sculpture, and collage into her practice. Róisín holds a BA(hons) in Photography from DIT, and certificates in Ceramics and Sculpture from NCAD.
Róisín White’s work draws from archival materials and seeks to create a dialogue with our forgotten histories through the use of found photography and ephemera. She has an interest in exploring lore and the fictional narrative that can be discovered in discarded imagery, previous understandings agitated, and new meanings drawn out. Roisin’s sculptural work brings her photographic work into the three-dimensional and builds on means of photographic reception.
White has exhibited her work in Ireland and across Europe, with her debut solo exhibition at The Library Project in August 2018. She was selected to represent PhotoIreland at Futures Photography platform, and was selected for Parallel European Photography Platform in 2018/9. In 2020 she was selected for a solo exhibition with Pallas Projects, which has been postponed until 2021.
Her project Lay Her Down Upon Her Back was selected for the third edition of New Irish Works in 2019 and showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Photography project during the PhotoIreland Festival in July 2019. White was selected to take part in residency programmes, How To Flatten A Mountain residency at Cow House Studios in 2017, In-Between Shores residency with Ardesia Projects and JEST Gallery in Italy in June 2018, and was the artist in residence at The Darkroom in Dublin (November 2018 – April 2019). White has received funding from the local and national Arts Council of Ireland. She was selected as the recipient of the Blow Photobook programme FUSE in March 2019. Recent exhibitions include, “The Light from Our Side Shines Differently” Parallel Review, Lisbon, Portugal; “Zeitgeist” at the Robert Capa Centre, Budapest, Hungary; “New Irish Works” at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Dublin Castle, Dublin; and “Out of Sight, Picturing the Unseen” at Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finland.
PhotoIreland cultivates, supports, rewards, and showcases contemporary visual arts practices.
Over the last decade, PhotoIreland has become a key constituent of the Visual Arts in Ireland, offering from Dublin an annual festival dedicated to Photography, running a cultural hub in buzzing Temple Bar, and developing constructive channels with a strong network of organisations worldwide.
Through these networks, PhotoIreland creates cultural exchanges internationally, promoting relentlessly the works of Irish artists around the world, actively seeking to be present in key festivals, fairs, and becoming the main voice for Contemporary Photography from Ireland. Indeed, it is not perchance PhotoIreland is the only Irish organisation invited as founding member to Parallel Platform and Futures Photography – already a member of 3 EU co-funded projects. Alongside this work, The Library Project, a space that started as a photobook library, has now become a busy Art bookshop focused on visual culture and critical thinking, stocking publications brought to Ireland from all over the world, presented alongside exhibitions and events in its productive gallery space.
“This year presents yet another stimulating programme with activities that can be enjoyed in-person and online. Julia Gelezova, 2021 festival curator, says that engagement between Irish and international artists is at the heart of the festival, and regardless of our current global challenges, we persevere with this in mind. The double commission of Finnish artist Hertta Kiiski and Irish artist Róisín White is a critical and exciting element of the programme aimed at younger audiences and we look forward to what it will bring.”
– PhotoIreland Festival 2021
PhotoIreland Festival 2021 is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Dublin City Council, the Office of Public Works, and the Mondriaan Funds.
The commission of Hertta Kiiski is additionally supported by FRAME Finland.