Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Finlandia to celebrate Finnish art, independence Dec. 6

HANCOCK -- Finlandia University will celebrate Finnish art and independence starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6,  at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

Victory Garden No. 3, by artist Marja Lianko. Acrylic and Mixed Media on Panel, 2011 -- part of this year’s Finnish American Contemporary Artist exhibition, "Marja Lianko: From There to Here," at the Finlandia University Gallery from Dec. 6, 2012, through Jan. 12, 2013. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

The celebration joins two long-standing traditions at Finlandia: the annual commemoration of Finland’s independence and the opening of this year’s Finnish American Contemporary Artist exhibition, "Marja Lianko: From There to Here," at the Finlandia University Gallery. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

The dual program will feature the Kivajat Finnish American dancers, a talk by Finnish American artist Marja Lianko, a Finnish poetry reading, and the performance of Finnish patriotic songs by Dave Bezotte and Dan Maki.

Finland is celebrating her 95th year of independence. The Finnish American Contemporary Artist exhibition is marking its 22nd year with this exhibition by Marja Lianko. The exhibition will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery through Jan. 12, 2013.

Born in Finland, artist Marja Lianko has worked in media including painting, silkscreen, monoprints, and mixed media sculpture. Her work chronicles her emigration journey and is also influenced by her travels, her memories of Finland, her experiences as a mother, and the challenges of balancing life and work in a new country.

The artist Marja Lianko with some of her work.

Lianko lives in Massachusetts. She taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., from 1976 to 1999.

On a wintry morning several decades ago, Finnish immigrant Marja Lianko arrived in New York City by ship following a stormy Atlantic Ocean crossing.

"I remember that I had no inkling how my life was going to turn out," Lianko reflects. "I was twenty-years-old with a head full of dreams and a new green card in my pocket."

Lianko’s paintings chronicle her emigration journey, from childhood memories to the personal symbolisms of a new life discovered and fully-lived.

In an article in the Boston Globe, art critic and writer Cate McQuaid comments that "(Lianko’s) paintings seem to represent a deeper truth, a kind of music accompanying her through life."

Other influences on Lianko’s work are her travels within the U.S. and in Europe, her experiences as a new mother, balancing life and work in a new country, and her memories of Finland.

 Eeva, 2012, by Marja Lianko. Birch, plaster, mixed media.

"I see a map of my life with markers for time and change," Lianko notes. "I see uplifting events, new discoveries, and visits to foreign lands. I also see trying times, obstructions, and sorrow, all of them creating a personal patchwork of intricate patterns … and Finland," she adds, "always Finland, with its melancholic beauty, the birches, the pine trees, the somber songs of my childhood, appearing again and again."

The Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC), and the Finlandia University Gallery within, are located at 435 Quincy Street on the campus of Finlandia University.

For more information, please contact Hilary Virtanen, FAHC programming coordinator, at 906-487-7505, or Carrie Flaspohler, Finlandia University Gallery director, at 906-487-7500.

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