Anu Osva's exhibition Kanssakulkijat / Co-Travellers explores the relationship between the human and their companion species.
Welcome to the opening on Thursday, April 11!
16–18h | Seminar discussing human-animal relations in the Arctic, featuring an introduction by Anu Osva and talks by professor of animal genetics in Natural Resources Institute Finland Juha Kantanen, research professor in arctic anthropology Florian Stammler and social anthropologist Stefan Dudeck from the Lapland Univeristy. – click here to read more
18–20h | Opening
Anu Osva: Kanssakulkijat / Co-Travellers
April 12-May 12, 2019
SOLU Space, Luotsikatu 13
"Before cats had been domesticated, kittens were considered as pets in Pharaoh’s court. These days every other home in a regular apartment building in Vuosaari has dogs, cats, and other animals as family members. In the Middle Ages animals damaging properties or causing accidents were taken to court as they were subject to the same laws as humans. In Arctic areas of permafrost where cultivating land isn't possible, humans and domestic animals have formed an interdependent lifestyle which has secured survival of both species."
Anu Osva's exhibition Co-Travellers explores the relationship between the human and their companion species. For Osva, who has a scientific background in animal breeding, it was her travels to North-East Siberia that ushered her into studying human-animal relations in her artistic work. The everyday life in small Siberian villages and the local people’s symbiotic relationship with Yakutian Cattle, an endangered, genetically unique cattle breed made an impact that still continues to inspire Osva.
The artist would like to thank the Natural Resources Institute Finland and the Arctic Centre research groups for their collaboration in the Arctic Arc Project.
"Ennen kuin kissa oli kesyyntynyt, sen poikasia pidettiin lemmikkeinä faaraoiden hoveissa. Nyt tavallisessa vuosaarelaisessa kerrostalossa asuu koiria, kissoja ja muita eläimiä joka toisen kodin perheenjäseninä. Keskiajalla Euroopassa eläin saatettiin haastaa oikeuteen, jos se oli vahingoittanut omaisuutta tai aiheuttanut tapaturman. Tuomio langetettiin samojen lakien mukaan kuin ihmiselle. Arktisilla ikiroudan alueilla, missä viljely ei onnistu, ihmiset ja kotieläimet ovat muodostaneet toisistaan riippuvaisen elämäntavan, joka on turvannut selviytymisen kummallekin."
Anu Osvan näyttely Kanssakulkijat tarkastelee ihmisen ja hänen kumppanilajiensa välistä suhdetta – ilmiötä, jota taiteilija alkoi perustavalla tavalla ymmärtää matkustaessaan Koillis-Siperiassa maailman kylmimmillä asutuilla seuduilla. Syrjäisten pikkukylien arki ja asukkaiden symbioottinen suhde uhanlaiseen Jakutianlehmään teki vaikutuksen Osvaan, joka on tehnyt kansainvälisen uran eläinjalostustutkijana, ja jonka töissä arktiset eläimet ovat sittemmin olleet toistuva teema.
Osva haluaa kiittää Luonnonvarakeskusta ja Arktisen keskuksen tutkimusryhmiä yhteistyöstä Arktinen Arkki -projektissa.
About the artist:
Anu Osva (b. 1953, Helsinki) is a Finnish artist with scientific background in animal breeding (i.e. genetics, quantitative genetics and mathematics). She worked ten years as a researcher in this field, but chose to pursue an artistic career in 1990.
In 1999 she began to combine scientific thinking and observations into her artistic work. In her paintings layers of genetic information are mixed with random layers of oil colours. These layers of colour may contain natural, historical or cultural observations, or they may be related to our belief systems.
In 2005 Osva participated in a field trip to North-East Siberia together with a socio-cultural research team from Helsinki University. The target was three isolated, small villages, where endangered, genetically unique Yakutian Cattle still lives as a population of 900 animals. In her art project entitled 'Yakutian cattle – A Research Expedition to Siberia in 2000’s' she is investigating this cattle as companion species and co-travelers for humans in harsh, arctic environment.
Since 2008 she has been developing artists and researchers cooperation at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station (Helsinki University) under umbrella of Ars Bioarctica. She was the first chairperson of the Bioart Society. Together with corresponding project teams she was creating art projects Water Flea Circus, Midnight Sun and ClimateScope.
Last six years her focus has been arctic waters, especially in plankton and its different lifeforms with viewpoint in evolution and ecology. Residency periods in Kilpisjärvi and working in laboratories have given her new ways to work with painting, video and space simultaneously.
In summer 2015 she joined research project Arctic Ark to work with starting point in art and science practices. Arctic Arc studies domestic animals’ adaptation to the Arctic as complex human-environmental process.
Osva has held several exhibitions in Finland and she has also displayed her works in international venues in Iceland, Sweden, Croatia and Belgium.
Kuva / Image: Anu Osva, Odotetaan (yksityiskohta / detail)