Hanneriina Moisseinen: Dear listeners

The comic strips of Saari Residence’s invited artist, cartoonist Hanneriina Moisseinen, will be on display at Galleria Katarina from 27 January until 14 February 2016. The Hyvät kuuntelijat (Dear listeners) exhibition tells a story about cows and war and is set in the summer of 1944, during the Continuation War.

During her residency, artist and cartoonist Hanneriina Moisseinen (born 1978 in Joensuu), Saari Residence’s invited artist, has been working on her fourth graphic novel. An exhibition at Galleria Katariina in January and February offers a taster of this book. The Hyvät kuuntelijat (Dear listeners) exhibition is about the summer of 1944, at the time of the Continuation War. It is a fictitious story about cows and the war that is partly based on archive materials and told in the form of a graphic novel. The exhibition considers issues related to space and sound in comic strips and also deals with war from the perspective of animals. The original comic art that will be exhibited has never been published before and is part of Moisseinen’s fourth graphic novel that will be published in May. Hyvät kuuntelijat is the first of two exhibitions of Moisseinen’s MA diploma work for her main subject Visual Culture and Contemporary Art, which she is studying at the Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The exhibition is also part of Anne-Mari Kivimäki’s Suistamo ­– Laboratory of Tradition series. The exhibition has received funding from Kone Foundation and Karjalan Sivistysseura.

A concert by Anne-Mari Kivimäki and Eero Grundström will be organised on 3 February 2016 at 6 pm in connection with the exhibition. The concert is connected in particular with Anne-Mari Kivimäki’s multidisciplinary Suistamo ­– Laboratory of Tradition, the artistic doctoral thesis that she is working on at the Sibelius Academy (The University of the Arts Helsinki). Kivimäki’s work has been funded by a Kone Foundation grant.

Hanneriina Moisseinen describes her exhibition:

Some of the scenes are wartime archive photographs that have been scripted into the story, taking it forward as part of the visual narrative. The exhibition will also feature a piece of sound art created by Eero Grundström in which the crackly sounds of archive recordings alternate with modern music and animal noises.

My piece focuses on the fate of cows caught up in the war, which is uncharacteristic of a graphic novel on war. By describing cows, I consider the physical nature of war and the pain that it causes, as well as war heroics and the victims of war. Animals do not speak, but they experience the same things as people and their fates can be even more awful than those of people. By portraying animals in war, it is possible to describe the uncertainty and sorrow associated with war in an even better way than it would be by emphasizing the fates of people. People consider animals to be in a way more innocent than they are, so in a book or even a film the pain experienced by animals can be felt to an extent.

The topical nature of my exhibition is summarised in the name, Hyvät kuuntelijat (Dear listeners), which is a plea to the Finnish people repeated by a Finnish Broadcasting Company reporter observing the events of the evacuation of the Karelian Isthmus, when over 400,000 people from Karelia were fleeing to western Finland with their animals and belongings as a result of the cession of territory. The comic strip ends with a scene where the final songs are being sung on the station platform and the final glances are made towards homes being left behind, and when the train finally departs westwards the following broadcast can be heard from a radio in the empty and destroyed station building:

“Dear listeners! This is but a trivial and fleeting look at the suffering experienced by the Karelians. Their road is so very difficult that once you have seen all of this you will never be able to forget it. And any person who has seen this would not be so cold hearted and selfish as to refuse to help this group of people who have suffered so much.” (Tauno Lautamatti, Finnish Broadcasting Company, July 1944)

GALLERIA KATARIINA Kalevankatu 16, Helsinki 27.1.–14.2.2016 Hanneriina Moisseinen Hyvät kuuntelijat (Dear listeners) Sarjakuvia | Serier | Graphic novels