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Here and There, performance, Mänttä, 2023. Photos and mask by Kolya Kotov.

Here and There is a process oriented 6-week long performative project that took place in Mänttä known as the art town in Finland. Drawing from my personal experiences as a queer immigrant artist residing in Finland, Here and There delves into the themes of otheredness and strangeness through claiming these positions. I saw these positions as tools to critically approach my experiences, but also the role of an artist-in-residence working on a community art project.

Poster as part of Here and There public interventions.

As part of the project, Here and There, I took on the role of the "stranger" who mysteriously appeared in Mänttä. I constructed this character through a mask, in which I spent hours walking in the town and interacting with the locals throughout my time in the residency. I used this fictional narrative as a framework for my endeavour, through which I organised my work in the residency and in Mänttä to visualise and perform this fiction.

The work involved several performative and visual public interventions; including posters, invitations, certain live actions and lastly an article at the local newspaper to spread the mysterious story for the public to follow.

Furthermore, as part of this performative narrative I met with the students of Mäntän Lukio once a week, in total for 5 times. These performative gatherings addressed the students as guides leading the stranger through the city. In total the group had 23 students who engaged with the character, the stranger, regularly each week. I organised each gathering slowly constructing the narrative of the stranger, and position the students within the story to engage and contribute to the story from within.

documentation of the stranger’s activities

Lastly, these weekly performative gatherings with high school students, resulted in a mini-exhibition to share the traces of this performative process with the rest of the residents of the town.

Here and There exhibition made by the stranger and their friends from Mäntän Lukio; Laura, Sofia, Danny, Aysel, Aapo, Paavo, Ronja, Katri, Eero, Saara, Pinja, Becky, Hayden, Audrey, Pihla, Fanni, Tuuli, Sanna, Gennis, Usva, Otto, Cody and the art teacher Leea Sultani.