Pil­bara through a Fin­nish artist’s lens

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

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.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

Fin­nish artist Kira Orkasalo has been pho­tograph­ing Kar­ratha and Roe­bourne res­i­dents.

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