Pilbara through a Finnish artist’s lens
Helsinki is arguably as different a place from the Pilbara as anywhere on Earth, but the heat and red dirt have been no deterrent for a Finnish artist who has spent the past few weeks in the region for a university photography project.
Kira Orkasalo, 23, is photographing indigenous Karratha and Roebourne residents, especially artists and young people, for an exhibition on West Australian Aboriginal Australians and their culture she intends to put on in Helsinki.
The project will include documentary-style photos of Pilbara locals as well as more street-style photography of people in Perth, along with short descriptions, and is part of Orkasalo’s submission for entry into a two-year graduate school art program in Finland.
She said the project idea had sprouted from her interest in indigenous art, culture and Dreamtime stories after a short trip to WA to visit family two years ago.
“I got very inspired by Aboriginal culture, and there was one morning when I just woke up and thought I could do it as part of my project,” she said.
“I want to introduce the bigger picture of culture and people, because Finnish people do not know much about the culture of Australian indigenous people. “Right away I did find it very inspirational.
“So I can imagine that Finnish people will also find it very fascinating.”
Ms Orkasalo said she chose to come to the Pilbara because a family friend lived here.
She admitted it had been “a bit of a culture shock in the beginning” as the region was “totally the opposite in every aspect” from Finland, which is about 50C cooler at this time of year.
You can view some of Ms Orkasalo’s photographs on her Facebook page, Kira Orkasalo Photography.
Income from the photographic exhibition will be invested back into Pilbara indigenous art groups.
Finnish artist Kira Orkasalo has been photographing Karratha and Roebourne residents.