Human/Nature, curated by Pirkko Siitari

28.04.2017 - 16.07.2017

Exhibition opening on Friday 28.4. @5 pm

The exhibition is opened by Oulu City Mayor Päivi Laajala


The Northern Photographic Centre celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017. The exhibition program for the anniversary has been created in cooperation with the domestic and foreign partners that the centre has. The Northern Photographic Centre invited its first director, Pirkko Siitari to assemble an exhibition about a current topic.

During the years 1988-1999, when Pirkko Siitari was the director of the centre, the centre became an international organisation. Siitari was responsible for the international ”Pohjoinen valokuva” photography triennials that had programs dealing with current societal matters in the 90’s.

Relationships with nature

The concept of nature as something that human controls and as an endless storage of raw materials, or on the other hand an untouched romantic landscape has changed. The ecological crisis that we live in the middle of has, above all, affected our relationship with nature. Understanding the correlation equal relationship between human and other living creatures has strengthened.

The relationship with nature has become a significant political question. Relationships with nature are handled with more versatility and with more awareness of the significance that nature has as a prerequisite for any human activity. In the exhibition Human/Nature the artists examine the relationship between human and nature from several different viewpoints: through environmental protection and research, as well as through the living conditions of indigenous people and the outlook of the future.

How do we interpret a photograph of nature, or of relationship between human and nature during the era of environmental crises? Nature has been an all time favourite theme in visual arts, but how does the concern about our environment show in contemporary art?

Tiina Itkonen has been working in Greenland for several periods. In her latest works she photographs single icebergs and individual dwellings in wide views. The works are primarily elegant panoramas but at the same time they remind us of how vulnerable the arctic areas become when the climate warms up. The ice does not melt the same way it used to and that makes it more difficult to for example hunt or fish and the rising of the water surface has destructive consequences everywhere. Landscapes in the pictures bring to front questions about environmental change and the impact it has to living conditions.

Khavay Samnang drags our attention into the mass destruction of Cambodian forests and the impact it has with the indigenous people living in natural economy on the area. As a result of rubber tree farming the indigenous people lose their source of living and the whole way of living. The government has rented wide areas for the rubber tree industry for decades. In his performative video work Samnang illustrates a path through the endless rubber tree plantations and in the end pours the rubber on him.  

The video work of Matti Aikio “Nomad Talk” moves in the living environment of the Sami as the name of the work tells the video illustrates the nomad way of living that is based on reindeer herding. People, their stories and the landscapes rotate and create a picture of life intertwining strongly with the surrounding nature.

Sanna Kannisto has been photographing migratory birds that have been ringed on the Hanko bird observatory as a part of the research of The Central Museum of Natural Sciences. The birds have been photographed in a field studio built by the artist acting as a set stage for positioned photographs. Kannisto does not only document the variety of bird species but also explores the tradition of a setting and the connections between visual art and science.

The imaginary works of Ilkka Halso are sketching the future of the nature.  The materials of the nature and whole ecosystems are protected with built structures and taken into giant storage halls. Soil, plants and animals are evacuated to wait for better times or they are for sale. The dystopias of Halso ask what is left when the nature has been processed.






Ilkka Halso: Boulder Corridor


  • Ilkka Halso: Boulder Corridor
  • Ilkka Halso: Broken Tree
  • Sanna Kannisto: 669181H_MUS.Z.HKI.FI
  • Sanna Kannisto: Poecile Montanus
  • Tiina Itkonen: Falling Iceberg
  • Matti Aikio: Nomad Talk
  • Khvay Samnang: Rubberman