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Month: August 2010

A collectors instinct – Leena Jokela

Leena Jokela | Artist in residence August 2010

During my stay in Vaasa, I chose to work with A collector’s instinct, which is an ongoing project that I started in 2006. The work consists of the objects I found and collected at various locations, mainly in Stockholm, where I also live. The objects are what many would call rubbish, but for me they are things that tell us a story about the place and time when they are found.

In Vaasa, I decided to collect objects on the basis of the fact that I have a Finnish heritage. There is one aspect of my life and existence that I as an artist not previously worked with.

During the weeks I was in Vaasa cycled and I walked around the city. I was looking for objects that caught my interest. After just a few days I realized I was looking for red, white, blue and yellow objects. In the back of my head were always thoughts about my Finnish and Swedish heritage. How very Finnish and Swedish am I? I was born and raised in Sweden, of Finnish parents who immigrated to Sweden in the mid-1950s. During my childhood, every summer the family visited my grandmother in Nykarleby, my grandfather in Jyväskylä and my grandparents (on my mother’s side) in Mäntsälä. What I experienced as a child was a mix of the Finnish language I did not understand, a Finland-Swedish with words that sounded archaic, special food and environments that differed from the Swedish I met on a daily basis.

When I as an adult now spent time in Vaasa, I realized that what I experienced as a child was present in me and it showed up as fragmented memories. My objects can represent these memories, and can be seen as fragments of my family’s history. They are there as a reminder of who I am and where I come from.

The final result is four colour photographs, size 65 x 65 cm. I’ve selected an object of each colour, red, white, blue and yellow, and scanned them into a flatbed scanner. They have become radiant because I want to show what we can not see with the naked eye, the heritage we carry within us.

Leena Jokela


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