Sanni Seppo & Anne Hämäläinen – Shadows- Exhibition
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The original idea of Anne Hämäläinen and Sanni Seppo was to make an exhibition about the Russian poet Anna Ahmatova. Developments in Russia and the outbreak of war in February 2022 changed the plan and took the thoughts to history, which seemed to repeat itself. The theme of the exhibition was artistic freedom and freedom of expression in the dictatorship.
In the exhibition, two Russian artists are side by side: the poet Anna Ahmatova, who was persecuted and censored by Stalin, and the visual artist Darja Apahontšitš, who was declared a foreign media agent during Putin’s time. The creation of the exhibition was caused by the creators’ reflection on the danger of art. Can the intimate expression of feelings in Ahmatova’s poems or the socially critical art projects of Apahontšitš shake the structures of power?
Due to her status as a foreign agent, Darja Apahontšitš must prepare a statement of all her income and expenses to the Ministry of Justice 4 times a year. After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, she stopped reporting according to the rules and began to tell the ministry her feelings about the war, drawing them on the ministry’s answer sheets.
Anne Hämäläinen and Sanni Seppo have put together an exhibition of documents related to the lives of Anna Ahmatova and Darja Apahontšitš. The exhibition consists of photographs, collages and an installation.
Feminism, human rights, and commenting on Russian power are central themes in Darja Apahontšitš’s art. She currently lives and works in Georgia.
Anne Hämäläinen’s production is in the style of subjective documentary, where objects, people and landscapes tell just as much about the author’s state of mind as about the depicted things. Her three photo books were created during photography trips in Russia and France. Currently, Hämäläinen works as a photographer for Yle Marketing.
Sanni Seppo is from Joensuu. She lives and works in Helsinki. Most of her production deals with different themes related to forests.