Testing Grounds Episode 7: ‘Saari Residence – Art and Decolonisation’ now available

Episode 7: Saari Residence – Art and Decolonisation Testing Grounds

What could it mean to decolonise art, and to use art as a tool for decolonisation?

Saari Residence is NAARCA’s Finnish partner. It’s located in Mynämäki, Southwest Finland, and maintained by Kone Foundation as a residence for artists of all disciplines and nationalities.

Leena Kela is a performance artist, and the Residency Director at Saari. She introduces us to the region, to Saari, and to our two contributors: Taru Elfving and Pauliina Feodoroff. Taru is a curator and writer focused on nurturing “undisciplinary” and site-sensitive enquiries at the intersections of ecological, feminist and decolonial practices. Pauliina is a Skolt Sámi theatre director, artist and land-guardian whose performance piece Matriarchy appeared in the Sámi Pavillion at the 2022 Venice Biennale. Taru and Pauliina explore ideas of decolonisation in art and “the art world”, both in the Nordic region specifically, and more broadly.

Find out more:
Saari Residence (https://koneensaatio.fi/en/saari-residence)
Snowchange Cooperative (http://www.snowchange.org)
Contemporary Art Archipelago (https://contemporaryartarchipelago.org)
Matriarchy (https://oca.no/thesamipavilion)

Leena Kela, performance artist, Residency Director at Saari Residence (http://www.leenakela.com)
Taru Elfving, curator and writer (https://contemporaryartarchipelago.org/about)
Pauliina Feodoroff artist, film and theatre director, land guardian, Sámi advocate (https://oca.no/thesamipavilion/thesamipavilion-pauliinafeodoroff)

Credits: Testing Grounds is produced and edited by Katie Revell and includes original music by Loris S. Sarid and artwork by Jagoda Sadowska. With thanks to Alex Marrs and the rest of the NAARCA team.

A captioned version of this episode is available on YouTube.

Featured in this episode:

Leena Kela (she/her)
Performance Artist & Director of Saari Residence

Leena Kela is a director of the Saari Residence. Saari Residence, maintained by Kone Foundation, is a residence located in Mynämäki in the southwest of Finland, for artists of all disciplines and nationalities. The residence’s long-term activities and thinking are underpinned by an ecological approach, which also covers social and mental sustainability. Its keywords are slowness, insight and change. Besides working as a residency director, Leena is a performance artist, artistic director of the New Performance Turku Biennale and doctoral candidate at the University of the Arts Helsinki.

Pauliina Feodoroff (she/her)
Artist & Theatre Director

Pauliina Feodoroff is an artist, theatre director, Sámi land guardian, and politician, with roots both in Keväjäu’rr (in the Finnish part of Sápmi) and Suõ’nnjel (in the Russian part of Sápmi). Feodoroff’s family has experienced deep loss at multiple levels due to changing nation- state borders and forced relocations between the 19th century and World War Two, Soviet collectivisation, logging of old growth Sámi forests, pollution of Sámi land and rivers and more recently the accelerated impact of climate change. Within this crucible of geopolitical and ecological conflict, Feodoroff combines theatre, performance, visual arts, forest and rivers revitalisation programmes (in collaboration with the NGO Snowchange), and political work (such as co-drafting the mandate for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Finland). Her aim is to free, through her practice, Sámi bodies and minds from colonially transmitted forms of existence.

Taru Elfving (she/her)
Curator & Writer, Director of Contemporary Art Archipelago (CAA)

Taru Elfving is a curator and writer nurturing undisciplinary and site-sensitive enquiries at the intersections of ecological, feminist and decolonial practices. As director of CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago she currently leads a research residency programme on the island of Seili in the Turku Archipelago, Finland, in collaboration with the Archipelago Research Institute. She is co-editor of Contemporary Artist Residencies. Reclaiming Time and Space (Valiz 2019).

Katie Revell (she/her)

Katie Revell is a Glasgow-based freelance audio producer and (lapsed!) filmmaker with a particular interest in food, climate change, and relationships to the land. She grew up on the southeast coast of Scotland and has also lived in Germany, India and the USA. Since 2016, Katie has been part of the team behind the award-winning Farmerama Radio podcast, which shares the voices of regenerative and agroecological farmers in the UK and beyond. Katie was lead producer of Farmerama’s first series, Cereal, which explored the history of bread and profiled the UK’s “new grains movement”. She also co-produced Landed, a personal exploration of land ownership and colonial legacy told by a farmer’s son as he returns home to his family farm. Katie believes passionately in the need for creative responses to climate change, and is delighted to be on the NAARCA team.

Blog at WordPress.com.

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