Pyhän Birgitan Puisto 2020

05augAll Day30sepPyhän Birgitan Puisto 2020

Event Details

We’re proud to show the work of the following artists:


Christian Bobst, Switzerland
The Sufi Brotherhoods of Senegal

In Senegal, 95 percent of Muslims belong to a Sufi Brotherhood, more than in any other Muslim population in the world. For Sufis, peace and tolerance are important values, spirituality and closeness to God are more important than dogmas and strict adherence to religious rules. Senegal has never experienced an attack in this age of international terror in contrast to its neighbouring countries such as Mali or Mauritania. The West African country is regarded as an anchor of stability. This has a lot to do with the trust of the Senegalese people in their religion and their spiritual leaders. When tribal leaders called for the raising of arms against the French, during colonial times, Cheikh Amadou Bamba Mbacke (1853 – 1928), the founder of the Sufi Brotherhood of the Mourids, taught his numerous followers that the true Jihad is not war by force of arms, but the fight against inner demons. Even today, most Senegalese are fervent supporters of Bamba’s pacifist teachings. The Senegalese engage in a strong personality cult around the founders of their four largest Sufi-brotherhoods and their descendents. While saints are a taboo in most Islamic countries, the names and portraits of the founding fathers of the Sufi brotherhoods can be found on the lettering of colourfully painted buses, as posters in shopping centres and textile factories, on almost all taxis. Although Senegal has a secular form of government, Islam is much more than a religion in the country. It is a lifestyle that permeates the entire society. The Sufi Brotherhoods of Senegal photo essay shows how the Sufi Brotherhoods and their religious leaders shape Senegalese society and how they maintain power and wealth, but also peace and stability in the country by relying on a tolerant form of Islam instead of dogmatic rules and oppression.

Christian Bobst (b. 1971, Switzerland) originally studied graphic design. For almost 15 years he worked for major advertising agencies in Switzerland and Germany. In 2010 he started working as a freelance documentary photographer. Since then he has produced numerous photo reports and assignments in Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America. His work has been published in magazines, daily newspapers and online media such as GEO, Stern, The Guardian, National Geographic, Die Zeit, NZZ, LensCulture and 6mois. Christian has won numerous international and national photo awards. In 2016, he won the 2nd prize of the World Press Photo Award in the Sport Stories category, in 2020 he was awarded at the POYi, in 2017 at the NPPA as well as with the vfg Swiss Photo Award and the photo prize of the canton of Solothurn and many more. Christian Bobst lives in Zurich and is a member of the photo agency laif in Germany.


Margeaux Walter, United States
Believe Me

Believe Me is a series of photographs resembling surveillance images that one might find in Google Earth. Mimicking augmented realities, Walter stages site-specific temporary installations in the environment that challenge our current post-fact world, influenced by scripted and hyperbolic reality television, fake news, sensational journalism and virtual experiences. By performing the characters in each scene and trusting a drone to capture the image, Walter herself becomes a puppet in the process, flipping the relationship between photographer and subject as well as referencing contemporary surveillance practices. Though seemingly digitally fabricated, Walter’s images are created in camera, using Photoshop only to add the characters, all of which are performed by her, to the pictures. 

Margeaux Walter received her MFA from Hunter College and BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in New York. She has been awarded multiple honors from the Magenta Foundation, Photolucida, Px3 Paris, International Photography Awards, and other organizations. She has attended artist-in-residence programs at Red Gate Gallery, Montalvo Arts Center, Marble House Project, MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. Walter’s works have been exhibited at institutions such as MOCA, Hunterdon Art Museum, Center for Photography at Woodstock, Tacoma Art Museum, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and the Butler Institute of American Art. Her projects have been featured in publications including The New York Times, New York Post, Seattle Times, Boston Globe, and Blouin Art Info.


Shinwook Kim, South Korea
In Search of Nessie

Producing photographic work is one way of telling a story. What stories do we find interesting? There are stories that are still haunting people even after a long time. Some stories travel back and forth between time and space yet remain active. These stories with enough vitality to reach beyond generation and region are preserved by naming them myths or superstitions. 

The project In Search of Nessie began with the question of where and how such stories began and how they might affect real life and culture. Loch Ness, a huge lake dating back to the Ice Age in Scotland’s northern Highlands region, is also a mythical place that is widely known around the world that there could be a dinosaur-like creature Loch Ness monster informally named “Nessie”. A photograph of a mysterious creature, which began in 1934 as a prank by a surgeon named Robert Wilson, triggered a long-standing mythological element in Mother Nature as the target of consumption and distribution. There are records in the Guinness Book Records for searching Nessie for 30 years as a self-proclaimed “Nessie Hunter”. While another man Adrian Shine for researching for the Loch Ness and mysterious creature over about 45 years. Throughout 2018-2019, there has been another scientific investigation into Loch Ness monster DNA by geneticists from New Zealand and other countries. 

The photographer Shinwook Kim does not intend to look for Nessie’s real existence but he desires to uncover how the invisible myths permeate an actual place and create a variety of devices designed to imagine it through the surrounding landscape, characters and various archives. Through this work, he intends to find the elements of a myth that are created, spread, propagated, and maintained in a particular place. Shinwook hopes to reveal fragmented images and disrupt the way it operates in order to find out how it gives meaning to a particular place and through what processes. What makes a story (a myth) and how is it maintained and operated?

Shinwook Kim is an artist and photographer based in London, Milan and Seoul. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London and master’s degree in Fine Art Photography from Royal College of Art, London. The artist has been working on structuring a huge world through close observation and collection of his surroundings while seeking to find the nature of it. Shinwook has been exhibited internationally in for example the UK, France, Italy, Netherlands, Finland/Sweden, Japan as well as in his motherland South Korea. His works are held in permanent collection at the Kiyosato Photo Art Museum in Japan, KT&G SangSang Madang, SPACE22 in South Korea and Oriel College, University of Oxford in the UK and many more. He is also represented by CE contemporary in Milan, Italy.


Alex McBride, United Kingdom
South Sudan: The Road to Peace

Independence freed Sudan from Anglo-Egyptian rule in 1956, and it was a yearning for independence that spurred 50 years of civil war between the north and south of the country soon after. Then in 2011 this same yearning gave birth to the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan. It wasn’t long, however before the infant country descended into a civil war of its own in 2013. Ethnic tensions between the ruling government’s Dinka tribe and the opposition’s Nuer boiled over into bloodshed, which, by the time a ceasefire agreement was hashed out in 2018, had left some 400,000 dead, and millions more displaced from their homes. In February of this year the two sides formed a unified government, with President Salva Kiir now having appointed his civil war rival Riek Machar as his First Vice President. The armies which they lead against one another are to be united as one national army. The tribes they represent which inflicted unspeakable atrocities upon one another in wartime are now to form the society slated to join hands in building a sovereign state together. With a history steeped in rivalry, the odds are stacked against the young nation, and so it is trust that lies at the heart of whether a country can rise out of the ashes of its past or regress once again into flames. Having been taken since the signing of the revitalised peace agreement between the government and rebel opposition in 2018, these photographs map out South Sudan’s tight-rope walk to a new peace, and a people’s unwavering determination to attain the freedom that they envisioned in the formation of a new state: A dream first conceived some 60 years ago.

Alex McBride is a freelance photographer covering political, social and humanitarian issues in East Africa. He is currently based in Juba, South Sudan.

Alain Schroeder, Belgium
Saving Orangutans

Indonesia’s Sumatran orangutan is under severe threat from the incessant and ongoing depletion and fragmentation of the rainforest. As palm oil and rubber plantations, logging, road construction, mining, hunting and other development continue to proliferate, orangutans are being forced out of their natural rainforest habitat. Organizations like the OIC (Orangutan Information Centre) and their immediate response team HOCRU (Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit), rescue orangutans in difficulty (lost, injured, captive, etc) while the SOCP (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme) cares for, rehabilitates and resocializes orangutans at their purpose-built medical facility, aiming to reintroduce them into the wild and to create new self-sustaining, genetically viable populations in protected forests. That we share 97% of our DNA with orangutans seems obvious when you observe their human-like behavior. Today, with just over 14,000 specimens left, the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo Abelii) along with the 800 specimens of the recently discovered Tapanuli species (Pongo tapanuliensis), are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Alain Schroeder is a Belgian photojournalist born in 1955. In 1989 he founded Reporters (, a well-known photo agency in Belgium. He has illustrated over thirty books dedicated to China, Persia, the Renaissance, Ancient Rome, the Gardens of Europe, Thailand, Tuscany, Crete, Vietnam, Budapest, Venice, the Abbeys of Europe, Natural Sites of Europe, etc. Belgian titles include, Le Carnaval de Binche vu par 30 Photographes and Processions de Foi and Les Marches de l’Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse. Publications include National Geographic, Geo, Paris-Match, among others. He has won many international awards including a Japan Nikon Award 2017 for the Rohingya series, the TPOTY Travel Photographer of the Year Award 2017 with the series Living for Death and the series Kushti, and 1st prize at World Press Photo 2018 for the series Kid Jockeys in the category Sports Stories and 2 World Press in 2020. Alain Schroeder has participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide. 


Mary Gelman, Russia

In Russia, people have a lot of prejudice toward people with mental disorders. They are not considered full-fledged people with abilities to learn and socialize, they stay unemployed. But there is a place, where everything is different. Where trust and respect for each other is a core of a community. Svetlana is a unique social village in Russia, Leningrad Oblast. This village gives an opportunity to people with different mental disorders to live free and be supported by tutors and volunteers. This place is not a boarding school or a clinic. No one is controlled and the doors are always opened. Diagnoses are not discussed; residents are not classified as healthy or unhealthy, normal or abnormal. They are all individuals, working to their potential. Residents believe in the person you can become in spite of your past. Svetlana is a community of nearly 35 residents. They live in four large houses, have a garden, a farm, a bakery, a carpentry etc. Villagers are served five meals a day, visit sauna on weekends and do the plays on holidays. People with special needs are free to go out, work, have friends and fall in love. They can realize themselves in any employment or creative activities. For example, at first some residents could not even hold a spoon, but now bake bread for all the inhabitants of the village or get engaged in the performances.

Mary Gelman is a VII Photo Agency Member photographer based in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. In 2016 she graduated from School of Modern Photography in Saint Petersburg and participated in various international and local workshops. Mary works as a photojournalist and teacher. The most important part of her professional life are her personal projects. The artist explores the larger world through close personal narratives. She focuses on a study of issues of gender and body, boundary and identity, discrimination and the human relationship with the environment. Mary has been a winner of different competitions. She’s the recipient of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Portraits – Hellerau Photography Award, Istanbul Photo Awards and Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest.


Teodelina Detry, Argentina

“Trust forms the basis for any relationship. It is something we need to exercise and develop since we are born. Our first learnings come from our parents or loving references. And the success in this learning will provide us with the necessary grounds so as to be able to trust in ourselves first and in others after. Trust others after. And last but not least, we definitely have to learn to trust life! Understanding that it is beautiful but full of unexpected bumps. It will make us feel safe, confident and consequently have more possibilities of blossoming.” Detry

Teodelina Detry was born in Buenos Aires in 1975. She studied Art Direction at the Escuela Superior de Creativos Publicitarios. During 1997 she lived in NYC and took several art-related courses at Parsons School of Design. Since then, as a visual artist, she has dedicated herself to painting and photography. In 2001 she studied at Andy Goldstein’s School of Photography in Buenos Aires. While living in Geneva, Switzerland (2013-2016), she continued studying with Aline Kundig and Athena Carey and back in 2017 she studied painting with Inés Miguens, Santiago Carrera and Juan Astica. In the USA and France Teodelina took workshops with the French photographer Alain Laboile. In 2017, 2018 and 2019 she exhibited her work with Inés Miguens in collective exhibitions at the Tattersall de Palermo in BA. In September 2019 she exhibited her work with Zona de Photo at BA Photo Fair and October-November 2019 at Mundo Nuevo Art Gallery. Recently, Theodelina published her first photography book titled La Anémona es la flor que se abre al menor golpe de viento (The Anemone is a Flower That Opens Herself to the Slightest Touch of Wind). The photobook was presented to the public on March 7th 2020 at Fundación ArtexArte in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The artist is currently participating in a two-year photography clinic programme at Proyecto Imaginario.


Nuno Serrão,  Portugal
In Between

Nuno’s blank slate starts with a functional level of emotion, logic, minimalism, and curiosity. The artist considers these to be his metric system. Curiosity often leads Nuno to document frameable micro-narratives that, in the end, will pose a whole new set of questions. With the sum of all relatable questions, he thinks he’ll get an answer.

“Equilibrium is a state in which all competing forces are balanced. I don’t think such a thing can exist in perpetuity, neither does the universe, or there wouldn’t be one. I’m interested in what happens in between all opposing sides, dark versus light, good versus evil, past versus future, happiness versus sadness. It’s in this space that I find most of my inspiration.” Serrão

Nuno Serrão is a Portuguese photographer, filmmaker, and creative director, interested in the dialogues between science and contemporary art. Each of his images considers how information is handled, shared and perceived, framing scenarios as micro-narratives, demonstrating a sensitivity and a curiosity for the planet and its inhabitants (Kate Simpson, Aesthetica Magazine, 2019).

Ana Maria Arévalo Gosen, Venezuela
The Meaning of Life

“I was shocked when the doctor, after a one minute check up, told me the news. Emptiness invaded my body. Not only did I have a rare type of cancer, but it had been inhabiting my right testicle for more than a year. A year? Less than a year ago I was getting married. Suddenly, my thoughts were spinning: Will I die soon? What will happen to my dreams? I ran home to my wife, she held me and said we were too young to face this. The world ended, but we stayed strong together. Our love made us feel sure that this fight can be fought together. A surgery to remove the malicious tumor was scheduled for three days after I received the news. Instead of Chemotherapy, I opted to have regular medical check ups. Seven months later, which was around Christmas time, my blood values had sky rocked again and the emptiness came back. The dormant cancer woke up. It metastasized in the lymph nodes in my stomach and chemotherapy was the only option to survive. The night before the first treatment, my wife shaved my hair, a symbol of change. The next day I had a strange element implanted in my chest, a gate for the chemotherapy to access my veins directly in order to kill every fast growing cell, good or bad. From that day on my goals changed: To heal my soul, to be a whole person again, and to rebuild my home from the ashes that cancer left and myself. I did all those things, but it never really leaves you; I will always be a cancer survivor. The looping cycle of check-ups never ends and the person I am now will never be the same. How does one’s identity transform when our body is put under scrutiny and jeopardized? How does a young man survive and move forward? Trust being the most important value to answer this question: Trust your family and loved ones, trust the process, trust the body and technology.” Ana Maria Arévalo Gosen

Ana Maria Arévalo Gosen (Caracas, 1988) is a fighter for women’s rights and her weapon is visual storytelling. Mixing rigorous research with intimate stories, she wants to make a positive impact through her projects. Because of the crisis in Venezuela Ana moved to Toulouse in 2009. She studied Political science (IEP) and photography (ETPA). In 2014 Ana moved to Hamburg and since then she has been working as a freelance photographer. In 2016-2017 she produced her most challenging work. The Meaning of Life is the intimate story of her husband’s fight against testicular cancer. Today they use it to raise awareness about this disease. Each year the exhibition raises funds for male cancer research. Her roots called her in 2017, when she returned to Venezuela, the place of her source of inspiration. Here, the artist created her first long-term project Dias eternos in which she reflected on the conditions of women in preventive detention centers and prisons in the country. This work was awarded the Lucas Dolega prize in 2020 and was done with the support of Women Photograph (2018) and Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Travel Grant (2018). It won the first place of the POY Latam in the category, The Strength of Women. Ana wants to carry on this project in the rest of Latin America. She is currently based between Bilbao and Caracas.


Elena Kollatou and Leonidas Toumpanos, Greece
Where we do not belong

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has triggered geopolitical disarray in the Baltic Sea and has created Allies and rivalries among the bordering countries. Nord Stream 2 is a project that results in a geopolitical disarray, since the business between Germany and Russia has the potential to profoundly impact the Central European geopolitical scene, challenging the security of many European countries and deepening economic inequality among them. Eastern European, Nordic and Baltic countries consider that the pipeline will make the EU reliant on Russian gas and thus giving away too much control to Russia while destabilizing Ukraine by depriving the country of gas transit fees; at the same time Northern Europe and Germany believe that the economic benefits outweigh this issue. With this controversial project as a motive, Elena and Leonidas departed on a journey along the Baltic coastline in order to reveal the secrets, trace the bonds and track down the conflicting matters that this Sea holds. The findings were simultaneously concrete and vague; non-descriptive situations represent the quotidian space of the people that inhabit these countries and who act as political mediators between East and West. Layering different realities in a single image imparts this ambiguity, since the individual depictions only fragmentary succeed in representing the real. Ripped images are constructing a visual tale and inviting the viewers to draw their own conclusions.

Elena Kollatou and Leonidas Toumpanos are a photographic duo working collaboratively on long-term projects. Together, they participate in group exhibitions and publish their work in international magazines and websites. Elena holds a BA(HONS) Degree in Photography and Film from Edinburgh Napier University and Leonidas a Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from University of Arts in London. Their practice focuses on investigating energy and society related topics, researching a project in depth before proceeding to making pictures. Together they explore the possibilities of representation and our relationship to reality, approaching subjects with a fluid documentary style, following varied ways of production and process-based interventions with the aim to raise questions to the viewers. They are also organizers of Athens Photo Scratch, an event that showcases photography projects in progress.

Carrie and Eric Tomberlin, United States
Sea Level Rise: Visualizing Climate Change

It is difficult to trust what one cannot see. Scientists implore us to act now to stop climate change from destroying the planet, but data is invisible and change is slow and does not impact everyone equally. Having photographed environmental issues for many years, Carrie and Eric find the images of climate change to be limited due to the gradual and elusive nature of the problem. For several years they have been working on a new kind of photography the artists call time distillation. This new paradigm allows them to collect a range of time and collapse it into panoramic space which they later distill into a singular allegorical narrative that has the potential to express a more complex story than a singular photographic image. This process parallels environmental issues in that it is the accumulation of time that reveals the gravity of the situation more clearly than any individual moment. To best visualize this issue, Carrie and Eric traveled to Bangladesh, which is considered by the international scientific community to be amongst the world’s most vulnerable populations to the effects of climate change. Though Bangladesh faces seemingly insurmountable challenges, they are not merely coping, but adapting with resilience and ingenuity utilizing community – based adaptations. In doing so, they provide an example of taking action on a local, national, and international level to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. Much of what Bangladesh is learning can be applied to other highly populated areas at or near sea level such as Miami, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Amsterdam. Carrie and Eric’s ultimate hope is that better visuals will lead to greater trust and therefore action.


Carrie Tomberlin is an artist and educator based in Asheville, North Carolina. Carrie currently teaches photography and visual culture at the University of North Carolina Asheville where she serves as Gallery Director and Lecturer of Art. Prior to her career as an educator, she worked with several non-profit organizations including the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. Eric Tomberlin has lived and worked as a freelance photographer, artist, and educator in California, New York, Texas, Washington, and India. Eric received his MFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin, and is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the University of North Carolina Asheville.


Arnold Grojean, Belgium
KOUNGO FITINI (Minor Issues)

This project focuses on the lives of Bamako’s street children, a growing phenomenon in West Africa, and has been realized through three journeys to the capital of Mali. Trust has become a notion extremely delicate in the street environment. Indeed, the survival state predominates and it can be very dangerous to trust anyone. These outcasts of society have also lost trust in society itself as well as for most of them, in their own mother. Paradoxically, this work would not have been possible without the trust that the children put in the photographer. The community of street children is an unapproachable world, an entering of which requires permission of the chief and is only possible after a long and immersive presence in the area. This trust has grown throughout the first stage of the project, during which Grojean spent 6 months organizing workshops, in which he taught the children to use some analog cameras and encouraged them to express themselves and their reality through the photographic and oral medium. 

The second stage emerged two years later when Grojean decided to also take pictures of the street children in their living spaces at night. This part of the project has only been possible thanks to the whole process of trust established between the children and the photographer. The result of this work, created throughout several years in close interaction with the children, takes form in ten different booklets: One booklet containing the pictures Grojean took of the children, eight booklets made of pictures and texts created by the children themselves and a lexicon of contextual details about Malian culture and definitions of the words used in the children’s comments. 


Arnold Grojean (b. 1988) is a Belgian artist who studied photography at Le Septantecinq, a college of visual art in Brussels. He currently works between Belgium and Mali. Arnold discovered West Africa for the first time in 2007 and realized most of his artistic work in Mali. KOUNGO FITINI (Minor Issues), his main artistic project, was realized together with the street children of Bamako and received several prizes such as the Roger De Conynck prize in 2015, the Mediatine prize in 2017, and the Contretype prize in 2018. It was voted a favorite by professionals at Visa pour l’ANI in 2017 and has been exhibited in numerous galleries and art institutes, including the Parisian gallery Fait & Causes.

Heikki Humberg, Finland

The photographic series Rooms of Truth takes a closer look behind closed doors of police interrogation rooms around Europe. The attempt to reach justice and truth is summarized in these spaces, where people are forced to interact. The rooms are being recorded by several cameras, other that of the photographer. Every gesture is interpreted for the prospect of truth.


John Steinbeck wrote: “There’s more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.” Upon entering the room, one is greeted by a lonely chair in the corner. The door closes behind. Senses grow sharper, as one observes this space void of people. A slight breeze from an open window clatters the blinds against iron bars. Light flickers through. One could almost call this cozy, but the moment is interrupted by the foreign language of the police in the corridor. The placement of the furniture reflects the subtle difference of power. Hundreds of human fates have passed through these rooms: The boyfriends, the neighbors, the mothers, the lovers, the bosses, the police, the children, the foreigners… The room is a canvas for their stories, and small marks can be found on the surfaces. 


Heikki Humberg is a photographer born in 1981 in Kärkölä, Finland. He is currently working on his MA in Photography Studies at Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture in Helsinki. Humberg has previously held solo exhibitions in Finland and Ireland and has participated in group exhibitions in Finland and abroad. He has received grants from Arts Promotion Centre Finland, The Paulo Foundation and Frame Contemporary Art Finland. The photographer currently lives and works in Helsinki.



Elise Corten, Belgium

Warmer than the sun is an ongoing process of Elise Corten documenting her mother. She uses the camera as a pretext to redefine maternal intimacy and trust. By depicting her mother’s daily rituals, Corten looks into who she is, not only as a mother but as a person. These pictures portray her willingness to reveal herself to her daughter in regard to emotional and physical changes. The work balances between personal and universal; exposing mother to daughter, daughter to mother and self to self. Through the collection of these photographic portraits, still-lives, and landscapes, an intimate monograph of a mother-daughter relationship is woven together.

Elise Corten (b. 1994) is a Belgian photographer. She received a BA from Luca School of Arts in 2018 and is currently working on multiple photographic series, whilst finishing her Master’s degree. Her work primarily explores themes of intimacy and connection through long term documentary projects. Her work has been shown in various international publications and exhibitions.




August 5 (Wednesday) - September 30 (Wednesday)

Pyhän Birgitan PuistoHernesaarenranta 4, 00150 HelsinkiNext to Löyly - Sauna and Restaurant


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