Artist residency Lapua, Finland

Jan 2017 – Artist residency at Vanha Paukku kulttuuri- ja yrityskeskus, Lapua, Finland

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I took part in a two week residency in Cultural Centre Vanha Paukku, Lapua in Finland. Vanha Paukku is an arts complex with galleries, a museum, artist residency building with studios, visitors centre, library, artisan shops, cafeteria and a movie theatre. During the two weeks I had a studio in the main residency building.

The Vanha Paukku building was previously The State Cartridge Factory established in 1923, a significant employer and important part of Finnish history. In 1976 an explosion in the loading department took the lives of 40 factory employees, a significant national tragedy for Finland.
Their museum in the complex focused on local histories, their famous tragedy and traditions including wartime Finland. I was able to learn of its communist connections and saw artefacts and interesting imagery and logos associated with it. There was also a shooting range in Vanha Paukku where a local marksman Arvi (who worked in the new Nammo Lapua Ammunition factory) practices. He showed me the Lapua bullets and memorabilia he collected and even taught me to shoot a riffle. He gave me a few bullet shell mementos that have Lapua impressed on them.  I want to use the documentation I took of his office, memorabilia and the Lapua bullets to make some new prints. I have a collection I started in America of old gun prints which I can now develop more with the Lapua bullet collection and imagery. The town’s crest also has very striking imagery of a man with a club riding a polar bear.  I will develop the work back at Seacourt to create new prints.

Double Vision Exhibition

‘Double Vision’ group show presented symbiotic relationships explored through original printmaking as part of a regional Festival in Finland. The exhibition was hosted by Cultural Centre Vanha Paukku, in Lapua during August 2016. This will be part of a regional festival exploring symbiosis.

Screen print – ‘Killers of Eden’

“In a town called Eden in New South Wales, Australia, an unusual relationship between man and whale took place. The Davidson fishermen worked in partnership with a pod of Killer Whales to collectively bring down larger Baleen Whales. They had adopted this relationship from their Yuin Aboriginal crewmen who taught them of the whales’ behaviour. The Killer Whales (including their leader Old Tom) would signal the fishermen and lead them out to where the pod were holding the whale. The fishermen would harpoon the beast while the killers wore it down and prevented it to move. As the killer whales only ate the tongue, the fishermen returned the next day to remove the body. It was know as ‘The Law Of The Tongue’. This continued for three generations until a beached killer whale was knifed by a vagrant. There is a museum dedicated to the killers of Two Fold Bay in Eden which has the skeleton of Old Tom who had returned to work with the fishermen alone.”

Eden’s Blueprint

16th May – 24th June 2016. ‘Eden’s Blueprint’, Peroia City Gallery, Arizona, USA
[Toured to Antrim and Belfast International Airport, & Brussels until March 2017]

This partnership project was with Seacourt and Clotworthy House Art Centre in Antrim.  This exhibition of original prints were inspired the historic site of Antrim Castle.   Antrim Castle Gardens are of the most unique and historically intact gardens in the UK and throughout Ireland. The former seat of the Skeffington family, Viscounts Massereene and Ferrard, Antrim Castle occupied its imposing setting on the banks of the Sixmilewater River since 1610. The family began laying out the gardens in the 17th century. While the castle itself was destroyed by fire in 1922 the principal Anglo-Dutch water features of the gardens, though somewhat neglected, have remained largely intact. These unique historic gardens, located close to Antrim town centre, recently underwent a major programme of works to restore many of the key features dating back to the late 17th century. The Heritage Lottery Fund’s recognition of Antrim Castle Garden’s historical significance provided the impetus for Antrim Borough Council to undertake what was the biggest garden restoration project seen in Northern Ireland.

 

Johanna Leech
Title: The Souls of Poor Folk
Technique: archival inkjet
Alexander Irvine was born in Pogue’s Entry in the town of Antrim in 1863. This image is from a photograph in a book containing two of his novels; My Lady Of The Chimney Corner (1913) & The Souls Of Poor Folk (1921). The grounds of Antrim Castle must have played host to a few of the fairy tales he regales in these book.

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