«Sisu» is a Finnish term translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity. That is a truly way of being in Finland.
Sisu is also the name of the exhibition with Lexander’s gentle portraits of Finnish and Swedish veterans. Their struggle during the war has been of great historical significance for both Sweden and Finland. The photographer’s grandfather is among the veterans portrayed. Lexander, who is now based in Paris/Sthlm, was always fascinated by the silence that surrounded this topic in her family.
«In this project I want to visualize the inner strength and power within every one of us. Just two generations ago Finland was attacked by the Soviet Union, a super power, in the Winter War. The price was high, but they managed to keep the Russians at bay and maintain independence. Many of the veterans were young boys, most were only 18 years old.»
The Sisu exhibition aims to spread knowledge about this important historical chapter to a younger generation as well as to increase understanding between the Nordic countries. The Swedish contribution in the Winter War was important. 9694 Swedish volunteers fought for Finland during the Winter War and the
Continuation War. There are at least 1440 Finnish war veterans living in Sweden today. In Finland there are 67 500 veterans, 10 000 of them were made invalids by injuries sustained in the war.
«We’d been fighting for two months. We were dirty as hell and our clothes were in tatters. Then the Swedish troops showed up. We called them ’the gentlemen,’ they were handsome and dressed in white. The officers wore white furs.»
Aarne Körkkö, from Rovaniemi, a veteran portrayed in the exhibition.
10 portrait photographs of the veterans 50 x 70
3 Landscape Images 70 x 100
2 Landscape Images 110 x 160
Framed in white wooden frames.
Quotations from the Veterans, 3x2 M Flag.
15 framed photographs. C-Print. 50 x 70 cm, 70 x 100 cm and 110 x 160 cm
1 Flag, 2x3 M
Fine art shipper needed,
The cost of transportation (to and from), insurance and customs formalities are to be met by the exhibitor.
Minimum 50 meters for hanging
STOCKHOLM – Finnish Institute, 6–22 augusti 2009, www.finlandsinstitutet.se
Paris – Finnish Institute, 9/9 –10/10 2009 september, www.institut-finlandais.asso.fr
Copenhagen- The gallery of the Nordic Council of Ministers, 22/10 –13/11 2009, www.norden.org/en
Helsinki – Finnish Museum of Photography, 25/11/2009 – 6/1/2010, www.valokuvataiteenmuseo.fi
Press Release SISU_PRESSFrEng.pdf SISU_QUOTATIONS.pdf
Press Release, Invitations & Introduction
available in Swedish / Finnish & English / French.
Quotations available in Swedish / Finnish & English / French.
Catalogue available in Swedish / Finnish.
"My Grandpa as 18 years old when he got commanded to attend at the front border. He bicycled from the South of Finland to Ivalo in the North, a journey of few month.
His time period at the war has always made me curious and the silence around this topic encourage my curiosity.
I decided to follow my Grandpas footstep and visit some places he carefully pointed out at a map, romantic names of remote places as:
Ivalo, Inari, Angeli, Sodankylä, Rovaniemi.
Many images was taken, meetings with Swedish Volunteers and Finnish Veterans from the War and continuous War, the youngest 84 and the oldest 97. Their portraits are shown at the exhibit combined with part of their stories from the war. Exposed as Quotations." / Jenny Lexander
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