Jaana Eskola started her work as coordinator of ecological activities at Saari Residence

Eskola, who has combined ecology and contemporary art in her career, believes that new ways of working and thinking in the context of both art and ecological sustainability can be developed at the residence.

Maintained by Kone Foundation, the Saari Residence will be heading towards an ecologically sustainable residency programme over the coming years. The focus in developing the programme lies in promoting sustainability thinking in residence activities: in other words, to develop environmentally sustainable activities on a long-term basis by testing and learning.

One of the first steps in promoting sustainable residence activities has been the recruitment of a coordinator of ecological activities. Jaana Eskola was selected for the task and she started her new job at the beginning of April.

Jaana has studied environmental politics at the University of Tampere and graduated as a visual artist from Art School Maa. She has worked in environmental organisations, run the British Council’s art and culture programme at its office in Finland and participated in the HIAP Frontiers in Retreat project, which addressed ecological issues through contemporary art. For the last couple of years, Jaana has worked as the production coordinator for DocPoint-elokuvatapahtumat, an association that organises documentary film events.

“For the last fifteen years, ecology and contemporary art have walked hand in hand in my life. The duties of the eco-coordinator at Saari Residence hit the sweet spot for me, as they focus on the things I have always been passionate about,” Jaana explains.

Saari Residence can create new ways of operating

The ecological crisis will force all the sectors of society to rethink, reorganise and rebuild their operations. This applies to art too. Jaana explains that repairing human beings’ relationship with other species lies at the core of this work.

“Maintaining the diversity of nature requires us to rethink the ways we could coexist peacefully with other species.”

According to Jaana, this is also tied to a radical reduction in consumption and more sustainable use of natural resources.

Saari Residence is a special place where the local and the global meet. There, immersion in one’s own work and, at the same time, the community created with other artists create fertile ground for the birth of something new.

“I look forward to encountering different kinds of people in my work and to learning new things and gaining new insights,” Jaana says.

“I believe that new ways of working and thinking in the context of both art and ecological sustainability can be developed at Saari Residence.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jaana is currently working remotely from Helsinki, but as soon as the circumstances permit she will move to Mietoinen. Having grown up in Eastern Finland, Southwest Finland is a leap into the unknown for Jaana, but the opportunities offered by rural life are enticing.

“I can’t wait to work in my own garden and tend to my own vegetable patch!”