XXV Mänttä Art Festival from 13 June to 31 August 2021

Mänttä Art Festival 20201 - Featured Artists

Featured artists 2021

XXV Mänttä Art Festival's exhibition title was Erehtyminen / To Err Is Human. The exhibition highlighted the diversity of contemporary art in artistic mediums, styles, perspectives, languages and nationalities. The exhibition presented 47 artists or artist groups. Individually, 62 artists were participating in the exhibition as many work in pairs or as groups. Almost half of the artists came from multicultural backgrounds. Out of the 62 artists, 55 was shown in Mänttä for the first time. The curator of the XXV Mänttä Art Festival was Anna Ruth.

2021 artists

Uzair Amjad

Uzair Amjad is a Pakistani filmmaker and multimedia artist based in Helsinki. His practice combines various configurations - based on his everyday observations - of the absurd, surreal, satirical and tragic. By doing so, Amjad creates narrative forms which examine the status quo. Amjad’s practice borrows significantly from his initial training as an image-maker and from oral storytelling traditions. At the heart of his approach is a need to imagine a future beyond the scope of our capitalist present and to explore a new political consciousness.

In 2020, his first short film, Paper Promises, received the Audience Award at the Helsinki International Film Festival. The film has since been screened on many prestigious international platforms, including the - Academy Award qualifying - Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF). Amjad will be presenting a publication of short fictional stories and a video work entitled: Off the Menu – Neapolitan Pizzas Made with Finnish Tomatoes and a Secret Ingredient, at this year’s Mänttä Art Festival.

Mari Antjärvi

Mari Antjärvi is a painter. Her visual language combines figurative and expressive elements and focuses on the physicality of the paint. She uses solid forms in dialogue with blurred surface areas to play with aesthetics. Her figurative paintings portray images of the human face. Through this subject she contemplates the self and the conflicting expression of self representation as a generic individual. Antjärvi’s themes are based on social issues.

Emma Fält & Roberto Fusco

Collaboration between Emma Fält and Roberto Fusco began two years ago in the form of ink-based and digital drawing conversations. These performances were an improvisation of movement and musical scores where the artists concentrated on the actions, gestures, and energy of the other. In spite of differences in media and personal approaches, Fält and Fusco developed a common language grounded in the dialogue between sonic and visual expression. Their work combines material and digital elements to create hybrid forms, guided by both analogue intuition and algorithmic rigour.

Fält and Fusco's new piece explores chance and the relationship between mistake and coincidence. As a species as well as individuals, we are the products of coincidence, right from the biological conditions of life to the social and economical conditions we live in. The artist duo is interested in positioning the viewer in a liminal spot where understanding emerges as a deliberate approach to facing uncertainty. This piece is made possible with thanks to the artists’ collaboration with the Savo Vocational College, a learning environment for industrial automation that incorporates modern robot technology.

Simon Gripenberg

Simon Gripenberg is an artistic inventor who draws on his education in both fine arts and technical fields. Gripenberg is driven by questions about the environment, climate change and energy – and is particularly interested in renewable energy. His projects are playful and experimental, combining technical elements, with science and art. Gripenberg tries to use as much recycled material as possible, which affects the shape and visual outcome of a project. In his creative process, Gripenberg is particularly interested in the use of analogical solutions based on biomimicry and simple technologies. He uses play to introduce and discuss difficult topics.

Robbert Groenendijk

Robbert Groenendijk is a digital artist and filmmaker. His work has recently diverged from filmmaking into interactive media-art in which programmed generative environments allow for ever-changing installations. His interactive works invite audiences to engage and alter the outcome of the artwork. By using programming, electronics, light and sound, his installations present ways in which the audience can experience things usually invisible to us.

His installation Protocol is an interactive media-art installation in which the audience finds themselves physically placed between two computer entities that are entangled in an endless ‘conversation’. The audience can interfere within the data stream by making sounds that cause errors in the transmission between these two computers. The installation reflects on human imperfection in relation to the flawless digital systems that govern our daily lives. It touches on our understanding of the digital world and our adaptation to it.

Markku Haanpää

Markku Haanpää’s works include paintings, graphic art, sculptures, and installations. He chooses his technique according to the space and theme, using various methods boldly and experimentally. His artistic process revolves around naturalness, in both themes and the use of materials. There is also a certain kind of primitivity and age-old rituality in his work, which manifest themselves in the form of flames or dusty clay, for instance. Respecting and preserving nature are important to Haanpää. He has considered the carbon footprint of his artistic work and sought ways to reduce it considerably, even going so far as to buy a protected forest of his own.

At the Mänttä Art Festival, Haanpää is exhibiting two items: a large painting installation and a relief-like piece made of the bark of rotten wood. Nature is present in both the themes and materials of Haanpää’s pieces. He examines the relationship of modern humans with nature. Will the light ever turn green for us again, or are we permanently stuck with intensifying red? How many planets would we actually need? Are we, in the end, only an evanescent part of the ever-changing world and its cycles?

Mariam Haji

Mariam Haji is a young artist recognised as an accomplished contributor to the arts. She has represented Bahrain in the Venice Biennale and participated in many other prestigious exhibitions in Europe. The focus she brings to the artistic community is a reverse of the ”Western gaze”. Stemming from her own personal experience as a Bahraini woman living in Europe, she examines and challenges the routine ways in which men and Western society have dominated art.

Haij’s work is pure emotion, executed with great skill and an appealing aesthetic. She uses classical European techniques in drawing and painting combined with an autobiographical approach, skilfully shifting the viewers’ perspective to make them aware of inherent tensions between positions of power in the East and the West.

Aaron Hiltunen

Aaron Hiltunen is known for his large scale, expressionistic paintings. He generally works with themes of nature, humanity and society. Inspiration for his paintings might come from news headlines or from a deeper philosophical deliberation which resonates with ancient history or mythology. Hiltunen’s use of colour is bold and the brush work varies from energetic compositions and caricatured figures and to fully abstract images.

Hiltunen’s work is political and often provocative. His Forest series is a request to leave all Finnish forests alone for one hundred years. This proposal was initiated by that exact question; what if we really just left the forests alone for one hundred years? Why wouldn’t it be possible? The paintings speak for themselves. Impenetrable, hundred year old forests would almost threaten the viewer. This vision might also seem pessimistic. Has the painter lost hope in the discourse around the future of our forests? Or is it pessimistic at all, perhaps it is empowering. Nature knows it will win in the end.

Jaakko Himanen & Vesa Toukomaa

Jaakko Himanen is a visual artist specialising in sculpture. He has refined techniques in fibreglass plastics but also works with a broad range of divers materials including found objects. Himanen’s work connects visual elements in unexpected combinations, stretching the limits of imagination. He has created and been commissioned to create numerous public art installations and integrated art pieces in Finland and around the world. Himanen worked as the Artist Representative of Environmental Art for Pirkanmaa in 2002-2005.

Vesa Toukomaa is a sculptor. Over the years his choice of materials has shifted from bronze, to ice and he is currently interested in site specific installations and environmental art. In addition to his sculptural work, Toukomaa is a teacher, an project coordinator and comic drawer. His work is surprising, experimental and close to the cutting edge.

Himanen and Toukomaa have worked together on sculptures and environmental interventions for several years. Their collective productions usually include experimental materials and are shown in unusual places.

Their new piece Monument was inspired by traditional hero statues. The artists contemplate who these statures are traditionally made for, and why they should exist. This sculpture is based on the full body portrait of a white, middle aged man and is created with a 3D scanning procedure. The otherwise classical sculpture is completely immaterial. The piece considers power structures and influence of certain chosen individuals within the Finnish art scene.

Jan Ijäs

Jan Ijäs is a media artist specialising in documentary, fiction and experimental film. His productions are socially engaged and many of his films raise questions about humanity within the capitalist system. In his films, Ijäs shines a light of hope on seemingly dismal circumstances focusing on the beauty of humanity. Ijäs carefully remains outside his films, letting the viewer come freely to their own conclusions. He is the recipient of many national and international awards, including the Risto Jarva award in 2011 and the Amnesty International Award in 2018.

At the Mänttä Art Festival Ijäs will present a new piece filmed entirely in reel film, in three different continents. This film, in four parts, looks at different consequences of pocket technology.

Nayab Ikram

Nayab Ikram is a photographer, visual artist and artist-curator of Pakistani diaspora from the Åland Islands. Ikram’s work is driven by the exploration of existence in the in-between, cultural identity, collective memory and the post-internet era. She explores these concepts with symbols, rituals and abstract forms of expression, through photography, performance and installation. In 2019 she was awarded with a culture award from the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.

Sara Ilveskorpi & Sanna Vainionpää

Sara Ilveskorpi is multidisciplinary visual artist, art educator and organic gardener. She works with a diverse array of mediums within environmental art, bio art and community art practices. Eco-social education through art is an important part of her work. In this work, she values the abundance of positivity, harmony and balance between humans and other beings, over that of consumption.

Sanna Vainionpää is a visual artist who expresses herself through different interventions and in different materials. Her art is founded in her own curiosity. She works intuitively and in community art she is interested in the diffusion of knowledge and skills within communities.

For the Mänttä Art Festival, Ilveskorpi facilitates a community art project with Vainionpää. Over the past few years, Ilveskorpi and Vainionpää have worked together on a community based art concept called ”Unknown”. This project opens up a larger horizon for perceiving the world, through collective work and creativity, it allows us to reflect on our own humanity in relation to our living environments. The piece, Unknown Mänttä, uses artistic tools, games and rituals with which we can examine aspects of utopia, memories and community in different spaces, places and habitats.

Aino Kajaniemi

Aino Kajaniemi is best known for her drawing-like tapestries, and her more sculptural work in the traditional rag-rug technique ”ryijy”. Through her work she makes thoughts and the imaginary tangible. Her images are poetic references to our difficulties and understanding of the world as humans. A subtle colour palette, the balance of line and surface areas, as well as the diversity of textures are all essential elements in Kajaniemi’s work. In her work the viewer collides with both strength and fragility in subject as well as material content.

Kajaniemi’s work is a sensory experience. Textiles, by nature, treat difficult subjects with optimism and humanity. Working slowly by hand is a lesson in space and time: perseverance in relation to ambition each small step along the way. Both materials and techniques require presence, sensitivity and empathy, and there by influences the artist’s view of the world.


Kemê hybridises photography, performance, installation and text to explore nature and artificiality. She uses artistic expression as a kind of alchemy or magic tool to investigate concepts of representation, symbolism, instability, the unconscious and the shadows there within. In her work, Kemê examines the relationship we have with our instinctual animalistic nature and how it influences us in our relationships and reactions to others.

Over the past few years, Kemê has focused on the "Villi Akka's calling”, a research project based on the wild woman archetype. Working through a frame of myths, tales and storytelling tradition, Kemê challenges negative stereotypes historically given to women within the binary system of assigned gender.

Henni Kitti

Henni Kitti is a visual artist and writer. Her work is an evolutionary process in which components from images and text continually form new entities. Natural science and physical phenomena are often the starting point for her work; how we experience reality with our limited senses, and what we cannot achieve. Kitti’s first novel Elävän näköiset (Lifelikes) (WSOY) was published in 2014 as an extension of one of her drawing series.

Kitti’s work currently focuses on light, shadow and how we perceive these. In her work, she studies the boundary between the seen and unseen, glimpses, slow observation, emergence from whiteness and the interaction between light and shadow. The elements used in her work are often very simple: paper, pencil, colour, and the materiality of these is included in the artwork.

Anna Knappe & Amir Jan

Anna Knappe and Amir Jan have produced films, media installations and photography together since 2010. Their work uses words, language and storytelling to construct identity, particularly the Afghanistan diaspora ”Mohajer”- idenity, a homeless people’s stories of home, endless migration and life in refugee camps.

In the Mänttä exhibition, Knappe and Jan examine war and violence using photographs and videos from the media. The artists create photograph collages from Google search results, allowing the details of the individual images to become blurred into an abstract mess. In contrast, their video Girl in Green, tells about the impact of confronting individual violent images, on humanity.

Alpo Koivumäki

Outsider artist Alpo Koivumäki makes sculptures from found and recuperated materials. Tractor tires are twisted into crocodiles, bale-plastics are melted into a polar bear, soup cans form a bird’s body and exhaust pipes become a tree trunk. This summer, animals from his permanent collection will migrate from ”Alpo’s Savannah” in Nummijärvi, to Mänttä. For Koivumäki, making art is an extension of his everyday life. He began making objects in 1995 when he retired from his work as a grain and cattle farmer. Since then his sculptures have travelled around Finland and other parts of Europe, inspiring viewers with their creativity and finesse.

Timo Kokko

Timo Kokko is a Kuopio-based artist with a degree from the Uniarts Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts. Kokko’s pieces offer multi-sensory experiences. He uses art to examine the essence of installations and sculptures through materials, immateriality, space, light, and observation. Kokko approaches art from a research perspective involving experiments as well as psychological, biological, chemical, and visual anthropological research, and produces art by observing and examining his environment. His pieces deal with ecological values and questions regarding humanity. People, nature, time, moments, and transience are recurring themes in his work.

For his piece for the Mänttä Art Festival, Kokko bought 60 square metres of forest. The installation is motion-activated.

Sami Lukkarinen & Roope Mokka

Over the past two decades, Sami Lukkarinen has addressed the digital image and the related visual culture in his art. The last fifteen years he has focused on social phenomena of the internet, and in particular the selfie, which he has interpreted through pixelated paintings.

Researcher Roope Mokka’s work is focused on the relationship between people and technology. This relationship is rapidly changing and it is difficult to understand without the help of an artistic perspective. Mokka is the founder of the think tank, Demos Helsinki.

Sami Lukkarinen and Roope Mokka are calling you to help artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence has two problems: we don’t understand it, and it only sees what we show it. Despite these problems it is taking control of the world. Which is why visual artist Sami Lukkarinen and researcher in Future Studies, Roope Mokka would like to help Artificial intelligence become improve, to become a better human dream.

Lukkarinen and Mokka will collaborate for the first time, in the creation of a new work for the Mänttä Art Festival. Dream Humans is an artwork which attempts to improve the performance of artificial intelligence. The influence of artificial intelligence is on the rise, and it has an incredibly skewed picture of humans. We just smile and pose with our food and in touristic landscapes. Artificial intelligence can hardly help us if we never give a more honest picture of ourselves. Come and get to know what kind of picture artificial intelligence will make of you, by donating your unpublished selfies to improve the artificial intelligence program. Together we will show artificial intelligence a more honest image of us, humans.

Tarja Malinen

Tarja Malinen uses ceramics to express her hopes and wishes for all children, world peace, and nature. After the sudden death of her teenaged son in 2016, she began to focus her work on the fragility and innocence of youth.

For Mänttä, Malinen presents a new sculptural work in connection to her installation Wanderers (2016–2018). The original installation was made out of her personal grief and deals with feelings of sorrow, longing, peace and love. Malinen’s work is situated in the Golden Pavilion on the Taavetti Island. The public is invited to interact with the piece; to touch it, sit with it, listen to the silence and remember those who are no longer physically with us.

Mechanics of Conformity (MOC)

The artist collective Mechanics of Conformity-MOC is a group of four women, representing diverse backgrounds; Rosamaría Bolom, Edwina Goldstone, Sepideh Rahaa & Arlene Tucker. Since 2017, MOC has been using hair as a starting point for open discussion events around how we, as humans, conform or do not conform to social norms. Speaking from deeply personal experiences MOC strives to create a safe and non-judgemental space to investigate concepts of human relationships, perceptions, identity, liberation, representation and otherness.

The installation is an immersive four-channel video work, in which four women have an honest conversation with each other and themselves. Throughout the conversation they attempt to deconstruct their knowledge and ways of being. The women challenge themselves and each other by considering the existing norms in society regarding misrepresentations, vulnerabilities and memories in relation to hair. The work examines the mechanics by which we might limit ourselves or rebel against external forces, bringing to light the hidden use of power, social structures and rules that maintain society. The conversation aims to act as a catharsis for the artists and for the audience.

Ali Akbar Mehta

Ali Akbar Mehta is a trans-media artist. Through his research-based trans-media practice, he creates immersive cyber archives that explore narratives of collective history, memory, identity, violence, and conflict. He is a founder-member and current Artistic Director of the Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki, and a board member of Kiila ry, Helsinki. He is pursuing a Doctoral Research program in the Contemporary Art department at the Aalto University, Helsinki.

At the Mänttä Art Festival, Mehta will present an excerpt from his ongoing project ‘256 Million Colours of Violence’. This project is an interactive archive of data based on how we visualise the concept of violence.

Heidi Naumanen

Originally, Heidi Naumanen painted with oil colours. After becoming allergic to turpentine, she has had to experiment with different techniques for her artistic process. One of the methods she has explored is digital painting, the virtual nature of which creates a strange impression of unidimensionality: there is practically no physical contact with the colours and instruments used, and the virtual tools provide suggestions at every turn. And a digital painting is not finished when the image file is complete. The manner of presentation needs to be decided on separately. Should the piece be physically printed or displayed digitally? What size should it be? Will it be duplicated, or will it be one of a kind? Can a file be considered art? Depending on the manner of presentation, printing costs can vary from hundreds to thousands of euros.

To counterbalance the fickleness and ambivalence of digital painting, Naumanen began to long for something very tangible: the three-dimensionality of pottery, enamelling and watercolours. Clay can even be worked with eyes closed, totally reliant on the sense of touch. In her Polaroid-inspired pieces, created with watercolours, Naumanen interprets the images brought out by the medium: ‘...and what else is photography but the materialisation of ghostly apparitions through a rather questionable method...” (W.G. Sebald, Campo Santo; translated on the basis of a Finnish translation) Naumanen will create two installations for the Mänttä Art Festival.

Mayumi Niiranen-Hisatomi

Mayumi Niiranen-Hisatomi is a Japanese visual artist living and working in Kajaani. Her production often relies on ancient techniques such as weaving and urushi-e combined with her own practice in painting, textiles and installation. Through her work, Niiranen-Hisatomi focuses on revealing the labour of others, including that of non-human species.

For the Mänttä Art Festival she exhibits her ongoing project the Canvas Project which began in 2014. The Canvas Project is her attempt to make a single, stretched, canvas for painting, completely by hand, starting with planting seeds. As a part of the project, she  will grow flax in the Pekilo yard which will be harvested near the end of the exhibition. Later the harvest will be spun by hand, into yarn to make the cloth for the Canvas.

Egle Oddo

Egle Oddo’s artistic practice is both a personal artistic expression and a botanical study of the interdependency between plants and people. Her projects act as a compass guiding innovative thought on sustainable coexistence. Egle sets an example through international networking with scientific institutions, reverence of seeds and creation of auto spaces for the growth and autonomy of biodiversity of flora.

Her research currently focuses on extremophile plants, and the role they perform in inhospitable biotopes. Since urban and human-made landscapes can also be defined as extreme for many living forms, she combines the expressivity of performance and visual arts with extraordinary biological behaviour as an artistic intervention. Though this practice, Oddo breaks down the binomial opposition between the natural and the artificial, in a biotope.

Presently she is board member of Myymälä2 gallery, and chair of Pixelache Trans-disciplinary Platform for Experimental Art, Research and Activism.

Instituto Italiano de Cultura Helsinki-logo

off/balance & Anni Rissanen & Vappu Rossi

Off/Balance is the largest contemporary dance company in Central Finland. Established in 2010 by two dance-artists and lifelong friends Terhi Kuokkanen (MA in Dance) and Elina Häyrynen (MA in Dance) the company has been praised for their impartial repertoire which crosses boundaries between different art-forms.

For the Mänttä Art Festival, Off/Balance’s performance combines dance with visual art. In the performance choreographer Anni Rissanen and visual artist Vappu Rossi and two dance artists expose the world of movement contained in an image and create a vast drawing together. The stage is a paper canvas on which an image is formed by the traces of movement by the three performers. Familiar perspective scales are transformed by the 5 metre paper stage, so that the viewer can focus on the world of movements contained by an image. The performance can be viewed both as a work of art as well as a dance performance.

Choreography: Anni Rissanen Visual art: Vappu Rossi Sound design: Tuuli Kyttälä Light consultation: Tuukka Toijanniemi Performance: XX, Terhi Kuokkanen and Vappu Rossi Production: Off/Balance Duration: 35-40 min.

Rosaliina Paavilainen

Rosaliina Paavilainen creates documentary video pieces that deal with human growth, fragility and responsibility, human relationships, and people’s ties to each other – their loved ones. She is fascinated by the multidimensional and the ordinary. Her aim is to have people recognise and identify with human elements in her pieces.

Paavilainen examines the qualities of humanity that are usually considered flaws. She contemplates what makes a person. What shapes individuals into who they are? The video piece Kehä (‘Circle’), exhibited at the Mänttä Art Festival, examines these topics. The work is a compilation of women’s thoughts on and experiences of infidelity, supplemented with ultra-sharp close-ups showing the surface of the skin as raw and spatial.

Ari Pelkonen

Ari Pelkonen is a printmaker who works in woodcuts and a combined techniques of printmaking and painting as well as with the moving image and spacial elements. Interest in the physicality of materials and stretching their potential is at the heart of Pelkonen’s work. The figures in his images find their place in the tradition of posed portraits, self-portraits and ideas around diverse identities. Pelkonen’s images are ambiguous, meditative and melancholic. In them he depicts silent figures who, although avoid eye contact, are fully exposed to interpretation.

For the Mänttä Art Festival, Pelkonen considers the hidden, or less visible, structures of humanity.

Tiitus Petäjäniemi

Tiitus Petäjäniemi is an industrious painter. His works in a versatile array of painting styles and techniques and his subject matter knows no limits. Petäjäniemi’s paintings develop narratives after completion only once they have been named. He is first and foremost a colourist although he does not adhere to conventional painting parameters within the larger context of Art History. If he had to be classified, he could be called metamodernist par excellence.

Recently, Petäjäniemi has produced art as part of the societal work system. That is, he works as a visual artist/painter within the offices of the Ministry of Health, cleaning companies, and communications bureaus, abreast the other workers.

Joonas Reijonen

Joonas Reijonen is a distinguished, structure breaking painter and grafiitti artist. His production combines geometric shapes and colour. Through his work, Reijonen strives to comment on, and break free from, the material world. His paintings reveal hidden structures in detailed, multi-dimensional forms.

The artist is particularly interested in exploring shape. Using a revolutionary form of grafiitti, Reijonen moves back and forth between conflict and harmony, so that within an image there are numerous confrontations between colour and shape. His work falls under the categories of futuristic and childlike art.

Pete Revonkorpi & Henri Lindström

Pete Revonkorpi is an illustrator who illustrates silly things that are serious and serious things that are silly. He is good at drawing humans and animals, even though he often confuses the one with the other. The highlight of his artistic career was when in second grade he managed to draw such an exquisite monster that his friends asked him to draw even more of them. He still draws them to this day, because none of his friends asked him to stop.

Henri Lindström is a musician and a long distance runner born in 1983 in Laukaa. Their artwork created for the Mänttä Art Festival is a constantly evolving musical painting that makes mistakes, learns from them and grows - and is never finished.

Jussi Rinta-Hoiska

Jussi Rinta-Hoiska takes traditional film photographs. He is seduced by the magic of film photography and absorbed by the process of preparation necessary before capturing an image. Rinta-Hoiska uses photography in a personal way, to express his thoughts and feelings on social political issues. His subjects of interest include human rights, equality, society, the destruction of the environment and our own consciousness.

Rinta-Hoiska’s recent work focuses on the ordinary. His series of portraits The Unseen Experts features professionals in various trades who have often been socially unseen because they are Deaf. Professionals in all their ordinariness pose in defiance of discrimination, they are ordinary experts.

Landys Roimola

Landys Roimola makes socially committed art. She sees garbage as an interesting material, specifically because it holds a history of its own, and because it is also very personal for each of us. Roimola transforms useless, problematic garbage into art, which leads the viewer into another universe, where gigantic works of art bulge threateningly over head. At the same time, the artwork is paradoxically sympathetic, strange, and beautiful, like a misunderstood being which has dropped down from another dimension. The refuse is born anew through a creative process combining material and coincidence.

Roimola’s work is not only based on the observation and research of material, but also on societal problems and climate change challenges caused by people. Within this, Roimola sees the artist’s roll as one to inspire, and encourage in the face of a global crisis.

Hanna Råst

Hanna Råst works with a multitude of techniques including photography, video, sculpture and installation. The base of her work is photographic, however the end the result might take on a new form. Råst is interested in different expressions of photography as a material which includes the memories and stories inherently attached. In her work, Råst questions these histories and wonders what proportion of them are personal, collective, made up or lies. Recently Råst has been interested in the dialogue between photography and archeology. She is interested in what we define as photography and how that changes when we add different elements such as sculpture or video. In her work Råst lets coincidence and errors lead her in new directions. Her work is an ongoing process and a piece might be ready at any stopping point along the path.

For the Mänttä Art Festival Råst will create an installation which combines photography and sculpture.

Nastja Säde Rönkkö

Nastja Säde Rönkkö works with video, performance, installation, participatory art, internet and text. Her art explores structures, meanings and outcomes of intimacy, empathy and presence across human interactions and social rituals. In her most recent projects,  Rönkkö  investigates the relationship between power, humanity and the future of our planet in the digital era. As the starting point for her work, she reflects on the human mind and emotions. She is particularly fascinated with how concepts such as love, slowness or affection can be silent, yet radical ways to be and act in the world. Her practice projects into the future and explores presence through politics and poetics of emotion.

For the Mänttä Art Festival, Rönkkö will create a new media art work, a day for you, with you, a performative intervention. As technology advances, new professions are created as old ones die out. Will people have more time to dream in the future or will we be threatened by mass unemployment? a day for you, with you explores the rapidly changing role of work and leisure in today’s society through experiences of empathy.

Azar Saiyar

Azar Saiyar is a Helsinki-based media artist and filmmaker who often uses material found in archives as the basis for her video pieces. She looks at and listens to images, texts and sounds carefully and delves into their details in order to examine and challenge them.

Working from archives is also connected to the concept of the right to cultural information. The idea that everyone can freely access information, and that it cannot be owned. At the same time, archives deceive us. There are whole stories, individuals, groups of people, ways of of life that are left out of all the familiar images and stories from the past and present. This selection - the lack of certain images and words - is also an important part of Saiyar’s narration.

At the Mänttä Art Festival, Azar Saiyar presents an 8-minute video piece called Laila’s Apple. Based on a television archive film shot in a classroom in 1964, as well as a number of interviews, it is about recollection, rules, and learning. Sound design is by Kirsi Korhonen, and the team also includes Joonas Kiviharju and Mariliis Rebane.

Hodhayfa Salih

Hodhayfa Salih is an established painter, having studied and practiced extensively in both Iraq and the Ukraine before fleeing to Finland. Not only does he bring a technical expertise in colour and brush work, but his subject matter deals with current affairs, such as deportation, deforestation and the conflicting priorities of the western world. Painting is his breath of life, through which he expresses all his thoughts, feelings and political points of view. The core of his work focuses on respect or the lack there of within the current state of humanity.

Salih’s current themes deal with the violence of human error and his work exhibits these errors of unraveling civilisation.

Hans-Peter Schütt

Hans-Peter Schütt, is inspired by the abilities and actions of the human species, both good and bad. His background is in drawing, painting and printmaking, but more recently he has also used a variety of technics to determine the content or idea of a project. A specific location, timeframe or material, might discern the concept and final outcome. These restrictions, among others, are important factors which crystallise his expression.

For the Mänttä Art Festival, Schütt focuses on lost and lonely objects, which have themselves touched and been thoroughly handled. The piece is constructed around ideas of coincidence, salvation, togetherness and loneliness as well as the confusion between care and forgetfulness.

Pia Sirén

Pia Sirén creates artificial and ephemeral landscape installations made from construction scaffolding, tarps, and plastics. Instead of the classical art-object, her artwork is an experience. Materials which are commonly used for construction, communicate a message of their own. Although the plastic coating and aluminium structures are in many ways the opposite of nature and landscapes, the banality of the materials also gives them a surprising beauty. All phases of creation are visible which communicates a double meaning, both as material and as the image formed. After the exhibition, the work is disassembled and all material is returned to its original purpose. Although the work is ephemeral, the experience of the piece creates a lastings impression.

Christina Stadlbauer

Christina Stadlbauer is an artist and researcher, speculating on finding means to communicate with other species. In her practice, she proposes new views on plants and animals and creates situations for unexpected encounters. Christina has launched several long term initiatives to engage with other than human life forms. Her work is process based and interdisciplinary, with installations, rituals, performances, often participatory. Christina obtained a PhD in Chemistry and graduated from Apass (advanced performance and scenography studies).

Who will pollinate the Flower Clock is an installation and an invitation to decelerate, and tune into plant-time. How do plants know time? How do they attune to rhythms of day and night? How slow do they open and close their petals? How long do they blossom so that insects can visit them? The installation calls the spectator to engage with plants and their perception of time. It speaks out invitations, imposes urgencies and promises consolation. Will we be able to read the time? How urgent is it to read this time? In a collaboration with Hotbox, Christina proposes intimate encounters with floral life forms, with potentially unexpected outcomes.

In the summer of 2021, a variation of the flower clock is planted for the Mänttä Art Festival, in front of the Pekilo Exhibition Center. The selection of plants features endemic Finnish species that are perennial. Also, all plants are chosen to be attractive for insect pollinators and provide a harvest of pollen and nectar for a variety of insects like wild bees, bumblebees, beetles, butterflies and others.

Jonna Suurhasko

Jonna Suurhasko is a visual artist whose work is based on the contrast and rhythm created with materials, colours and shapes. Drawing on her background as a printmaker, Suurhasko has recently expanded her practice into three dimensional pieces and spacial art.

"As a child, I used to love aquariums and bottle gardens – enchanting hidden worlds that people could glimpse only through the glass. Although I built those worlds myself, they acquired a life of their own and I became nothing but an observer. Now I wish to build another world of my own, as a grown-up artist."

Factors such as the growth of population, pollution, lack of water, and technological development have increased the interest in larger-scale closed environments of growth worldwide. In Finland, too, we are now exploring the possibilities of using old mines as automated greenhouses for cultivating plants, among other options. It would be interesting to know how much research, technology, time, and planning are required to imitate natural conditions. And should nobody wish to harm nature on purpose, can devastation yet be an accident?


Suva is a multidisciplinary artist who combines music, visual art, bodily writing and performance in his creative process. Suva is interested in public anatomy – making and doing something with public using the tools of intervention, interaction, anticipation, perception and the sense of community. His art and interventions are made from the stand point of ”the Other” a position which allows for constructive critical thinking. Through his drawings and texts, Suva often lays bare raw truths of underlining inequalities and injustices.

For the Mänttä exhibition Suva presents pyrography pieces on Wood panels. As a process, this laborious and careful technique of fire on wood is in itself a direct connection to our primal ancestry, but in the light of the present day phenomena. His works  highlights the issues  and situations, concerning Xenophobia, Racism, Nepotism in academia and the Art world.


{TES} is a media art collective It is formed by Tea Söderlund, Eetu Henttonen and Sami Luusalo. Istallations of {TES} create spaces for exploring the themes and connotations of interaction. The interactive works that combine sculptural elements, sound, animation, video and new technologies, are given form by the activity of the viewer, thus the work is unique for each person. The installations create both concrete and metaphorical connections between the digital and physical realities.

Reflections is an installation that approaches its themes of memory, recollection and identity from the perspective of interaction, perception and experience. In the installation, we find ourselves at the center of algorithmic shapes and landscapes as both viewers and influencers. The work questions the building blocks and narratives we use to construct our identity while everything is in a constant state of flux. The outlines of our experience are perpetually reshaped by chance, change and momentariness. The work reminds us that people are always locked in their subjective experience of the world, which results in repeated fallacies and erroneous choices.

Timo Tuhkanen

Timo Tuhkanen’s work is at the intersection of contemporary art and music, sound and touch, in both everyday life and in archives. Tuhkanen’s practice currently involves imagining, designing and creating instruments that act as social interventions and political tools for encountering, and including non-humans in decision making processes.

Tuhkanen’s installation The Sound the Everybody Heard is a space built for an audio experience that changes the perception of sound. Tuhkanen speculates on the universal nature of knowledge when that knowledge is based on a sonar encounter which all experience but none can confirm. This project is part of a larger research project which deals with different sounds that large numbers of people have heard at the same time without explanation. This installation will have a continuous on-line presence for the duration of the Mänttä Art Festival.

Tímea Varga

Tímea Varga is a printmaker whose works are concrete, geometric. She often uses simple shapes for the power of their message. Varga primarily uses clean, solid colours, often returning to strictly black and white images for their direct, straightforward communication.

The artist is inspired by nature, however, Varga is not interested in imitating directly what she observes, and is not particularly concerned with the visible world. Her intention is to reduce. To recognise what is not essential and to work towards erasing it. She believes that while it is not possible to reach the immaterial, one can always search for new approaches.

Sirpa Varis

Sirpa Varis is an illustrator and textile artist who is inspired by situations and observations of everyday life. The resulting bright and colourful pieces, are made with slow, laborious and experimental embroidery techniques. Varis often uses cute humour to reveal questions and perceptions of injustice.

With a dreamlike flow, Varis’ work for the Mänttä exhibition, depicts endless change. In the constant current, new things appear followed by a moment of safe familiarity, which again, is modified into something new.

Aishe Vejdani

Aishe Vejdani is a multidisciplinary artist. In her work she strives to find a balance between concept and form where technical narration is in dialogue with cultural narration. Concepts that she has engaged her work with are such as “shared space between Iran and Finland, erasure and absence of female subjectivity within her familial war trauma, passive and active aggression in dreams”.

Medias she has worked with are: painting, painting together with video, film, and music.