HANCOCK -- "Finglish," an exhibition of photographs of Finns in North America, which traveled to the area for the FinnFest celebration in June, is now on on display in the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s Kerredge Gallery through Aug. 31.
Finnish artist, Vesa Oja dedicated eight years to this project -- which documents Finnish Americans and Finnish Canadians, their dreams and homesickness and their Finnish-flavored North American life.
During Oja’s many trips to North America he found and photographed hundreds of Finnish immigrants, their descendants, and places related to their history. He became familiar with the old and young folks speaking "Finglish," or broken Finnish. He also came to know landscapes in the Great Lakes region; FinnFests; Finntowns; and the villages of Kaleva, Toivola, and Onnela. Oja heard many stories of what immigrant life was like far from Finnish shores.
The project culminated in a book titled Vesa Oja: Finglish - Finns in North America with photographs by Vesa Oja and text by Vesa Oja and Päivi Oja. It includes the 40 photographs in this exhibition. Copies of the book are available at Finlandia University’s Northwind Books.
The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock and is supported by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Center is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. For more information call (906) 482-2333.