Channel / 9 Mar 2020

Work To Be Done - Meet the Artists

'Work to be Done' has officially launched at Ffotogallery featuring work by 5 Nordic artists challenging the stereotypes of gender, home & the workplace. The exhibition is open Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm until 4 April 2020. Find out more about the artists and their work below:

Johan Bävman - Swedish Dads

Johan Bävman (b. 1982, Sweden) is a freelance photojournalist based in Malmö, Sweden. He combines his own photography projects with journalistic assignments around the globe. His work has been awarded by World Press Photo, POY, Sony Award, NPPA, UNICEF Photo Award, TT Photography Award and Picture of The Year (Sweden).

Swedish Dads is based on a series of portraits of fathers who belong to that small percentage of fathers who choose to stay at home with their children for six months or longer. With this project, Johan Bävman wanted to find out what made these fathers stay at home so much longer than most of their peers.

What have they gained from this experience? In what way has the decision to take parental leave changed their relationship with their partner and their child? What expectations did they have before going on parental leave?

Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave policies in the world. The current system allows parents to stay at home with their child for a total of 480 days, while receiving an allowance from the state. Ninety days are earmarked for each parent, and cannot be transferred. The purpose of encouraging dads to take more parental leave is to promote gender equality. Despite a generous allowance, only a fraction of Sweden’s dads uses all of their allocated parental leave, and only fourteen per cent of parents split evenly.

Bävman has two aims for this photo project. Firstly, he wants to illustrate Sweden’s unique parental policy. Secondly, he wants to inspire other fathers – both in Sweden and further afield – to see positive benefits of taking a more active role in their young children’s lives. He doesn’t want to glorify the fathers in this series. Instead, he seeks to engage in a debate about why these dads are considered special.

Nella Nuora - Midwife

Nella Nuora´s roots stand strong in cinematography, which she has done professionally for over twenty years. In her work she aims to present the real world through a filter of positivity, beauty and hope. The very qualities she sees as a possibility to prevent us from falling into despair, during this ecological crisis. Since 1999 Nuora has been assigned for Finnish national broadcast company YLE.

"It is in this maternity ward that your child is safer to be born than anywhere else in the world.”

Mikko Tarvonen works as a midwife and knows how to help a child safely in the world and reassure parents in an exciting situation. Tarvonen's specialty is monitoring and interpreting a child's heart chart. The role of a midwife is to help the mother (midwife etymology: mid = with, wife = woman) and to evaluate if the child needs help from outside. So far, the best way to examine a child is to analyze the cardiac curve drawn by the CTG. The learning of interpretation is passed down from one midwife to another, through experience and years at work.

Still, "There are two experts in childbirth: the midwife and the mother herself."

The text is based on the YLE news article (Laura Kosonen, 12.10.2019), in which Nella Nuora photographed Mikko Tarvonen working.

Beta Bajgart - A Woman's Work

Beta Bajgart (b. 1975, Czech republic) is a Dublin-based freelance photographer with journalistic backround as a reporter in Czech national radio. Her work engages with communities through varieties of mediums – photography, films and printed media, campaigns and collaborations. Her work has been awarded by the Network of Ireland in Art Category and shortlisted for an award by Business to Arts 2018. Currently she is contracted to Irish national broadcaster RTÉ.

A Woman’s Work sits at the convergence of art and visual archiving. It is aimed to empower women while simultaneously examining ourselves and our place in modern society. Through A Woman’s Work, Bajgart captured the stories of 60 women who have chosen a career path in unusual and predominantly male professions. The work made her mindful of ongoing gender stereotypes in our society and the need to prevent them, by educating our children. Bajgart wishes to keep strengthening the conversations about the way women are choosing their professions and about their role in the community. She strongly believes that documenting women who have challenged their inner strength to develop their talents and share their stories through visual media, is a way to help, inspire, nurture and educate the whole society. A Woman´s Work by Beta Bajgart is also published as a photobook in 2017.

Katrīna Neiburga - Traffic

For Katrīna Neiburga, art is subordinate to a yearning for emotion, authenticity and the preservation of living memory. It is poetry that operates at the level of perception and feeling: pared to the bone, saturated with truth, searing and beautiful. One of Neiburga’s chief means of expression is her deeply personal iconography, which is evident in her video installations, both in exhibitions and as theatre set designs. She is interested in sociology, investigating preconceptions about the nature of things.

Neiburga holds an MA in Visual Communication from the Art Academy of Latvia and has studied at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden. She has been exhibiting since 2000 and has participated in biennials in Sydney (2006), Moscow (2007), Venice (2015), and Kochi–Muziris (2016). In 2008, she was short-listed for the Ars Fennica Award and received the first edition of the Purvītis Prize.

"Few of us have ever had a heart-to-heart with a taxi driver. Not just about the rates or the route ― about the spots passing by the taxi window, the rising prices, politics: in short, about life in general. That sort of conversation may turn either into a confession and solace offered by a stranger, or a tour through city territories and mundaneness.

Likewise, few of us have ever come across certain collector types who go for other people's stories, extraneous experiences which intertwine with their own in a peculiar sort of fabric. Katrīna Neiburga is one of those people who collect stories ― on cultivating tea fungus, on what girls carry around in their handbags, on things normally told to no-one but a taxi driver or a random fellow-passenger in a train compartment. And yet Katrīna is not a true collector. It seems to be very important for her to be a part of the conversation, to spin a yarn and have a go at asking the person she’s talking to questions important to herself. The artist's vital curiosity channels anthropological "archaeology" into creating a contributor-orientated situation.

Switching from object to situation in her practice of art Katrīna performs a virtuoso balancing-act between documentality and fiction. Having decided to make a temporary change of occupation and become a cabbie she taxis around residents of the Pārdaugava suburbs, talks to her passengers, listens to their stories and registers them. And afterwards visitors of the re:publika project and chance passers-by who happen to take an interest are offered an opportunity to spend some time in the old Volga car and watch the taxi driver's dialogues with her passengers on a little monitor.

Accident combined with a staged situation, or rather an arbitrarily made-up set of rules, makes for ideal psycho-geographical premises. The unscheduled taxi routes and unpredictable people act almost like a drifting derivation method, allowing the revelation of a surprising urban texture and one to lose oneself in the stories told by random passengers.

The second part of the project consists of Katrīna's interviews with female taxi drivers; this time it's not just an extension of situative context but also a materialisation of focused interest manifested in the Sestais elements (The Sixth Element) women's art project and in a study of interplay and succession in her own family’s female line. Women's position determined by social roles and traditions without explicit feminist articulation becomes the subject of the artist's analysis.

The grey-haired taxi driver's stories of curious incidents dating from the Soviet era, her family problems, adventures and worries about an insecure future create a portrait of a strong woman ― one it's so easy to identify with if you live in Latvia. Assembling assorted fragments of other people's experiences is Katrīna's way of making marginal notes of sorts and possibly of getting closer to eventually writing a body matter on herself."

Text by Solvita Krese

Mikko Suutarinen - Truckers

Mikko Suutarinen is a Finnish photographer based in Helsinki, Finland. He graduated from Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts.

Currently Mikko is working for Helsingin Sanomat, the largest newspaper in Finland and the Nordic countries. The main focus of his work is documentary photography as well as long-term documentary projects. In his work Suutarinen prefers to take a sympathetic spectator position and observe events that are happening without interfering with the natural setting. His interest lays down in ethnography and triggers that are influencing human behaviour. Enlightening on emerging issues which might not be evident to the public is Suutarinen's main concern.

On some of his biggest projects like “People and Cars” and “Polar Light”, Suutarinen emphasises the importance of individual identities, their significance, as well as the correlation between culture, nature and personalities. Both projects we acknowledged by the Finnish Press Photos in 2017 (Honour Award of New Photo Journalist) and 2018 (Photo Essay of the Year) respectively. Suutarinen's work has been published in newspaper articles, magazines and books in Finland.

The Finnish Vehicles Act requires truck, bus, lorry and combination vehicle drivers to have a professional qualification in the transport of goods and passengers on board. Vocational training includes training in the requirements imposed on a driver, on road safety and on the safety of the driver and the carriage, and on professional practice in the transport and other functions of the driver.

The job of a truck driver is to carry the goods, to load and unload the cargo, to take care of the transport documents and to provide customer service. In addition, the work includes car maintenance and minor repairs. The work requires independence, responsibility and punctuality. The rules governing the working hours and rest periods of drivers are uniform throughout the European Union and the EEA.

“When a man makes a mistake, it's just a mistake. When a woman blunders, she can't.”

Jenna Keinänen, 20

”I am the first truck driver in my family and proud of it.”

Eveliina Heiskanen, 24

“When I graduated as a hairdresser, I knew right away that I was in the wrong field. After two and a half weeks I quit. Even though my grandma, grandpa and father were driving the truck, I wasn't interested in cars until I was 17.”

Jasmin Tuominen, 27

(The quotes are published in Helsingin Sanomat, Minttu Storgårds ja Pauliina Toivanen, 12.7.2017.)