Page updated 18.1.2016
I Love Finland

The I LOVE FINLAND exhibition originated in reception centres

I LOVE FINLAND is a joint exhibition by five Fine Arts students of TUAS’ Arts Academy and asylum seekers.

Text: Heta Laiho

Lately, the discussion on refugees has been vivid. In the discussion, refugees are often presented as one big mass, which means that individual stories and experiences take a back seat. The art workshops, organised by Fine Arts students, provided asylum seekers with a chance to bring forward their memories, wishes and everyday experiences through art.

“We met interesting people whose situation in life was completely different from ours. For a moment, we were closer to their everyday life, but at the same time we felt powerless in the face of the problems the asylum seekers encounter”, says student Aino Ojala.

In autumn 2015, Fine Arts students Anni Aho, Mikko-Pekka Hyvärinen, Annika Lehtinen, Aino Ojala and Sini Talonen organised art workshops at reception centres. The workshops were open to all asylum seekers. The purpose of the workshops was to act as a pastime for children and adults and a means to offload their thoughts through art.

“It was fun to meet people at the workshops but our sole purpose was to give them something to do. We provided the people with the premises and equipment, and otherwise they got to do things freely”, says student Anni Aho.