Saari Residence


Saari Residence’s programme for invited artist highlights ecological perspectives

Kuva | Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

At the beginning of 2023, the Saari Residence’s Saari Invited Artist programme was renewed to better meet the needs of the residence. The invited artist programme was put on hold during the pandemic and the long renovation of the residence’s main building. During this time, the concept of the programme was updated under the leadership of the Saari Residence’s Advisory Board to reflect the environmentally responsible operations of the residence that were started in 2020.

For each of the four two-month-long individual residencies, one artist or artist-researcher focusing on various ecological issues is invited to stay at the residence. The primary task of a Saari Invited Artist is to carry on their artistic and research practice. Invited artists can share their artistic expertise in different ecological issues by evoking insights within the residents staying at Saari through discussions or their own artistic work. They can also bring out their perspectives and expertise through their art or research topic. The position of the invited artist is not open to applications.

“The updated Saari Invited Artist programme will produce perspectives on ecological thinking and enable the generation of insights through artistic work and discussion. Sometimes new insights come about in an instant, while at other times, they require a longer time to take shape. The Saari Invited Artist programme is about meeting at the well to explore ecological issues. It provides groups of residents with ways to deepen their ecological thinking and examine their connection to nature, while at the same time, it allows the Saari Invited Artist to carry out their own artistic work with the support of the group,” explains Leena Kela, Residency Director of the Saari Residence.

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

Tamara Colchester challenges you to engage in a dynamic relationship with nature

After the programme was updated, Tamara Colchester (UK), a writer and forager, was the first to be invited to become a Saari Invited Artist at the Saari Residence. She leads the other residents in observing their surroundings and nature in general to create a deeper relationship with nature through their walks in the surroundings of the Saari Residence. Her sensory-based work is founded on ancient foraging and tracking practices that have long been used in hunting and gathering. At the residence, she explores whether writing can be used to study a person’s connection to other living beings and strives to learn to interpret the world by following various animal, mushroom and plant trails. Read more about Tamara’s work.

“It has been a gift to have time to explore the winter landscape here at Saari, taking time to walk amongst the trees, plants and animals with whom we share this nourishing space. Winter can feel like a time of sleep, but leading weekly foraging-tracking walks has allowed me to take a deeper look and see all the life that is soon to erupt in spring. Writing can be a very internal, solitary human activity, so keeping up a practice of walking, tasting and listening to the flora and fauna has given me a sense of intimate community with the landscape of Saari in its fulness.” Tamara Colchester describes.

The following invited artist from March to April will be artist-researcher Mari Keski-Korsu, who, in her doctoral dissertation, supported by Kone Foundation, is studying the definitions of empathy and ritual, as well as the values they reveal.

Previous Saari Invited Artists

From 2013 to 2020, the residence activities included the Saari Invited Artist programme, in which an artist who had previously worked at the Saari Residence was invited to an individual residency; in other words, to work at the residence for eight months. Previous Saari Invited Artists include Jaakko Niemelä 2013–2014, Jonimatti Joutsijärvi 2014–2015,  Hanneriina Moisseinen 2015–2016, Matthew Cowan 2016–2017, Kristiina Drews 2017–2018, Kevin Doyle 2018–2019 and Essi Kausalainen 2019–2020.