Residency guests 2021


BoiBlacc, recording artist

During this residency period, I’ll be working on a single theme – introspection.

I am looking forward to a mentoring programme that will help improve my artistic skillset, and I expect to connect with like-minded creatives and not only share but also learn from our collective experiences, adding to and tapping into the creative opportunities presented by taking part in the home residency programme.

My working process involves, but is not limited to, collaboration with fellow songwriters and use of reference tracks for purposes of illustration and research. These are usually my most effective techniques when writing.


BoiBlacc is a producer and recording artist from Buruburu, Eastern Nairobi, Kenya, and a living embodiment of his work that fits seamlessly in this digital age while touching on the large influence that the Golden Age of Hip-hop has had on him. He has been producing music since 2017, with the most notable collaborative appearances being on KiliHippie’s mixtape ‘Beloved B-Sides’ and the latter debut album ‘Hii Si Demo’. In 2020 BoiBlacc released his debut album ‘The Blacc Circle’ produced by KiliHippie. Using a unique combination of Sheng’ (a local Kenyan creole) and English, BoiBlacc weaves together tales of struggle and hope that command the attention of any audience.

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Leif Holmstrand

Leif Holmstrand
Artist, writer and musician

I am writing a novel, my fourth, dealing with secular magic, queer and partially psychotic shamanistic rituals/games/objects and prostitution, also about deleted friendship narratives, loss, and alternative family structures. The most important theme of the novel is weird joy, joy in the field of possibilities that being broken might provide. I have no intention of completing this novel during the residency, but I want key scenes to achieve structure and shape. What I really want to complete during the residency is a series of art objects (sculptures, images, props for rituals), text sound compositions, short films/video pieces, et cetera, all feeding upon the material provided by my growing novel and research.

The themes in my working during this residency are rituals, ceremonies, happenings, secular magic, totemistic objects and images, non-straight experiences of prostitution, of psychosis, of selling sex and queer friendship and queer love.

I expect from my residency period to get input, new angles and perspectives, solutions for art object production and exchange of experience.

My working methods are diverse: often my writing starts outside language with physical work in the studio – thinking with the hands. The opposite is, though, also plausible: many of my art pieces or happenings start as written text.

Leif Holmstrand (SE) was educated at Malmö Art Academy from 1997 to 2002, and then joined the school’s Post-graduate programme in Critical Studies in 2002–03. Holmstrand is a non-straight writer, musician, and artist whose work has been shown in Vladivostok, Seoul, Tokyo, etc. His approach is ritualistic and expansive, rooted in harsh bodily experiences and a psychedelic view of materials and techniques. 

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Elina Juopperi

Elina Juopperi, visual artist

At the Saari Residence, I will return to drawing. I will use the flood of images on the Internet as my source material, focusing in particular on the landscape and the images provided by map and satellite services. I will travel on the Internet. In my work, I’m interested in the pain points of society, and this way of thinking follows with me and gets reflected in my drawings. I’m particularly interested in breaking points, or points where a seemingly peaceful landscape is, in reality, a stage for something destructive or questionable or for a conflict of some kind, the source of the conflict or where the landscape has been dramatically moulded to meet the narrow-minded needs of humans. I try to sketch out the traces, consequences or open questions that we leave behind in the landscape, nature or in society. The flood of information on the Internet is often contradictory, noisy; I don’t expect to create a straightforward path leading to a clear analysis in my drawings. I will mix the footage I print out from the Internet with my drawings. I will experiment.


Elina Juopperi is an artist from Northern Finland. They studied visual arts at the Paris Cergy National Graduate School of Art in France, graduating with a master’s degree in art, i.e. a DNSEP diploma, in 2005.

Juopperi considers themself as a documentary artist. In their works, they deal with issues such as nature, culture and world news, often interweaving they themes together into works whose message, instead of being preachy, leaves room for the viewer’s experience. Juopperi uses several techniques in their work, including photography, video, drawing, collecting and installation. Their works have been shown, for example, in Finland in the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida in Inari, Korundi in Rovaniemi and Kajaani Art Museum, as well as in la Galerie Noisy-le-sec in France, Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico, Lesjöfors Museum in Sweden and Arte Actual Flacso in Quito, Ecuador. Juopperi’s work has been made possible by grants they has received from Kone Foundation, the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Alfred Kordelin Foundation, etc.

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Hip-hop music producer and artist

I’m KiliHippie. I’m a hip-hop music producer and artist from Nairobi, Kenya, here to work on The Blacc Canvas with work partner and musical soul mate, BoiBlacc. The Blacc Canvas is a follow up to The Blacc Circle, which is available on all streaming platforms.

Our music is rooted in finding truth and reflecting it so that it may nourish the lives of those whose ears it finds. It’s naturally introspective art that’s guided by God through an inward journey. The result is a uniqueness of lyrics and sound that shows itself naturally and effortlessly.

I’m expecting to learn different perspectives to approach my way of making my own art even beyond The Blacc Canvas. I hope to understand the different contexts that my Saari Fellows come from and use that as inspiration to be more open-minded to humanity as a whole, with the expectation that the knowledge this evokes in me will make me a better human being first, then a better artist and musician.

I treat my artistic endeavours as someone dedicated to an 8 to 5 job would treat their work. This is because my mind tends to desire structure and to understand my environment; it also helps me make the most of my day as the schedule I adhere to keeps me productive. True to my hip-hop roots, I sample obscure music the world over to make my beats that I then share with the writers and vocalists I work with. I spend my days year-round making and mixing beats – a continuous cycle of working on different kinds of projects with rappers and singers and working to fit my duties as a mixing and mastering engineer into my schedule. It can be gruelling, and I work hard, but what I do never really feels like work to me.


KiliHippie is a hip-hop and R&B producer from Kilimani, Nairobi, Kenya, and an alien in his own right who makes music that fits seamlessly in this digital age while touching on the large influence the Golden Age of Hip-hop has had on him. He has been producing for three years and released his first project ‘Tending to Infinity: 1’ in June 2017, just 3 months into his self-taught production journey. He considers himself a ‘late-bloomer’ to the music scene as a creator and contributor, but has had a deep connection with music since childhood. His ‘aha’ moment came when he dropped out of university in 2017, a turning point he considers as a divine awakening!

KiliHippie is influenced above all by the greats of hip-hop production J. Dilla and 9th Wonder. He puts it best, ‘Picture it. If 9th Wonder & J. Dilla had a baby and that baby made classic Hip-hop that moves with the times. That’s me. I’m that baby.’ His lush sound is characterised by idyllic samples backed by fat, crisp drums, while the vocalists he works with display sharp lyricism that reflects their thought-provoking poetry.

KiliHippie has kept the music coming with numerous releases. His latest EP, ‘1447, Vol. 1’, with Nairobi rapper The Swamiii, captures his sound in its prime. This sits pretty alongside his other 2020 release, ‘The Blacc Circle’ with BoiBlacc as well as his 2019 EP and album releases, ‘Beloved BSides’ and ‘Hii Si Demo’. He describes himself as an artist subservient to the art, and the beauty this approach brings is exemplified in these aforementioned bodies of work.

He is a recipient of the ‘Goethe Talents Scholarship’, an annual music scholarship organised by the Goethe-Institut, as well as an upcoming ‘Saari Fellow’ of Kone Foundation, where he will occupy a residency in Mynämäki, Finland, in January and February 2021 alongside his musical soul mate BoiBlacc.

KiliHippie continues recording and writing music every day while exploring further creative expression as a music entrepreneur attempting to go above and beyond where those before him have yet to. His is a mission to inspire!

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Meeri Pulakka

Meeri Pulakka

I’m a classical singer, a soprano, living in Helsinki. My work includes a lot of Baroque and contemporary music, and I also love performing lieder and opera. What I love the most about being a singer is the variety, collaboration with other musicians and composers and the insights great music provides. I’m currently particularly interested in implementing a solo performance and exploring the instrumental possibilities of sound.

During the residency, I will work on a solo soprano concert programme consisting of contemporary compositions. I will rehearse the pieces in it and prepare a concert out of them that will combine sound and movement into a comprehensive performance. At the Saari Residence, I will find the right ways for me to work that will broaden my artistic expression and also explore the themes arising from the pieces as part of my rehearsal process. I’m very grateful for this opportunity to get acquainted with the work of the other residents and look forward to an exceptionally good opportunity to focus and delve deeper into my own, independent work in the peaceful and inspiring surroundings of the Saari Residence.


Soprano Meeri Pulakka’s versatile skill set ranges from the Baroque to contemporary music, and she feels at home both on the opera stage and with chamber music. Pulakka has performed as the soloist with several Finnish orchestras and bands, such as the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, the Central Ostrobothnia Chamber Orchestra, the Finnish Baroque Orchestra and the Uusinta Ensemble under conductors such as Juha Kangas, Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Andrew Lawrence-King. Her opera roles include Vitellia in Mozart’s la Clemenza di Tito, Cleopatra in Handel’s opera Giulio Cesare and Madame Euterpova in Menotti’s opera Help! Help! The Globolinks. 

Meeri Pulakka is a much sought-after performer of contemporary music whose musical and precise work stems from the violin and singing lessons she began in her childhood. Her contemporary music performances include the role of Tyttö in Riikka Talvitie’s Prix Italia award-winning radio opera Kylmän Maan Kuningatar (2017), as well as performances at the Avantin Suvisoitto festival, Kallion nykymusiikkipäivät event for contemporary music, Uuden Musiikin Lokakuu festival and the Musica Nova Helsinki festival. Pulakka also likes to sing early music and has performed as the soloist of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra and in Barocco Boreale’s production Kuningatar Kristiinan jalanjäljissä.

Meeri Pulakka graduated with honours from Sibelius Academy’s degree programme in vocal arts (Master of Music, 2018) and the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (Master of Arts, 2017) and her most recent singing teachers are Marjut Hannula and Gabriele Lechner. She has participated in numerous master classes under Barbara Hannigan, Soile Isokoski, Anne Sofie von Otter and Karita Mattila, among others. Pulakka performed her debut concert, which focused on contemporary music, at the Talven Nuoret Taiteilijat concert series at Musiikkitalo, Helsinki in January 2019.

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Harrina Räinä

Harriina Räinä
Visual artist

At Saari Residence, I will work on my artistic research project “The Other as Matter” using woodblock printing, sculpture and text. Through the medium of woodblock printing, my project examines the ethics of making art and human beings’ connection with non-human animals on a larger scale.

“The Other as Matter” reflects on the role matter of animal origin plays in the process and end result of woodblock printing from the point of view of animal studies, ecocriticism and ethics. Developed in Japan, woodblock printing is a non-toxic and ecological method of graphic arts that has recently grown in popularity in western countries. The technique contains an exceptional amount of matter of animal origin: brushes made from horse, goat and deer hair, pigment ground from oyster shells and glue boiled from deer bones and cow skin, etc.

At the residence, I will immerse myself in the essence of the materials used in woodblock printing, make wooden printing blocks and explore the possibility of reducing matter of animal origin. In addition, I will read literature on animal ethics and research relating to it and prepare an academic paper that I will present at the International Mokuhanga Sumi-Fusion Conference in Nara, Japan, in December 2021.


I am a visual artist based in Helsinki. My interests lie in physicality, the event of observation and the animal issue, i.e. humans’ relationship with and attitudes towards non-human animals. My work typically focuses on combining various media, such as moving images, printed art and sculpture, into a spatial whole. I studied in the graphic arts programme and graduated with a master’s degree in fine arts (2019) and a bachelor degree in fine arts (2017) from the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki.

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Karoliina Sjö

Karoliina Sjö
PhD student

During my residency in Saari, I will focus on writing my doctoral thesis, which explores the writing of diaries and the way Kirsti Teräsvuori composed a story about herself, her life and experiences in the diaries she wrote at the beginning of the 20th century. So far, I have worked intensely, for example, in an archive poring over diaries and now it’s time for the next stage: intensive writing. The residency provides an excellent setting for this – it’s great to have the peace to write. On the other hand, I’m also interested in the relationship between research-based knowledge and artistic, creative work, as well as in the possibility of finding new ethical ways of remembering and narrating. That being so, I also use the methods of art to analyse the material I’m studying, and the Saari Residence is a great, natural environment for this artistic part of my work as well.

Karoliina Sjö is a doctoral student of cultural history at the University of Turku. Her research interests include autobiographical sources (such as diaries), biographical research, connections between life and narration, the cultural history of writing, the history of (mental) illness, gender history and girlhood studies. Sjö is also interested in the relationship between art and research, the opportunities it offers and new ways of producing information. She is working on her doctoral thesis with the help of a grant from Kone Foundation.

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