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A Folk Shaped by Water

The new exhibition of the Northern Lapland Nature Centre Siida, “A Folk Shaped by Water”, consists of figures outlined in wood. During his canoeing trips in the wilderness of Vätsäri, Petri Nevalainen has collected, from the shores of Lake Inari, pieces of driftwood in which the eye can detect a range of figures. “A Folk Shaped by Water”, a photography document on such pieces of wood, takes us on a trip to the wild world in which Nature keeps creating stories.

May 01, 2015
Every week until Sep 27, 2015
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Petri Nevalainen has been photographing all his life. He comes from the region of Pirkanmaa, and he has had exhibitions both in cities in the south of Finland and abroad. He has worked on the exhibition for several years: he has looked for material on Lake Inari in summer and done the photographing in his studio. As a photographer, he is motivated among other things by the goal of producing good photographs that have a deeper aspect.

In the exhibition room, the audience will see intensive black-and-white photographs, some of which are bigger than a square metre.

From the very beginning, Petri Nevalainen has aimed at taking a stand through his exhibition. Nevalainen adds that, with his exhibition, he would like to have people wake up and have a moment of reflection.

- People forget so easily all the things that there are in Nature. If we had time to stop for a while, we could see the world in a different way, Petri Nevalainen says.

A Folk Shaped by Water is a photography document by Petri Nevalainen. It takes us on a trip to a free, wild world in which Nature has created stories since the dawn of the human family – and still creates.


The world under the stars – with no light. Deep in the woods a fire is lit, like an eye that opens into the dark, glowing red. Flames make shadows on the bark walls of the trees, branches sway in the wind, creating a nest for the Milky Way. A figure hunched up by the campfire, hands reaching for the flames; like a rocky image of god halting everything that there is for all time, with a zeal in its eyes as if on loan from another world. Something gigantic was waking up. It studied and observed the two-legged one that was busy by the fire; it searched its mind for a place and a time for a being that it did not remember ever having touched.

Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen Buddhism, said: “Who told people that mind means thoughts, opinions, images and concepts? Mind means trees, fence poles, tiles and grass.”

The human family, lost in itself, is buying meanings for its life, believing that purchasing movements of mind can replace the kind that we find ourselves. Short-sightedly, we have swapped the responsibility that the individual and the community have for the natural cycle for momentary desires.

A canoe cuts through Lake Inari in the wilds of Vätsäri. The human-driven vessel advances like a shooting star on the vault of heaven, with the sky and its embroidery of stars above it, and its reflection beneath it. The Upperworld and the Lowerworld become one in the night. The moment makes the mind more humble towards that which is, and the one who experiences becomes the one who sees – for a split second.

Petri Nevalainen

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