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Jamaicaway Matins

Video, Participatory Installation

Climate change is an issue that directly impacts peace and justice world wide.  Wealthy nations and communities have the resources to anticipate and act on behalf not only of themselves, but of the rest of the planet, but too often people ignore the urgency of the issue because it is inconvenient to the bottom line. In this moment, with a pandemic influencing the globe, it is clearer than ever that our mutual fates are intertwined, and that collective action is necessary, not just to prevent harm to the vulnerable, but to create beauty and connection for all. 

As an artist, my Finnish cultural heritage influences my understanding of getting by by making do.  My mother and grandmother taught me how to re-use everything from cutting down clothes and creating rag-rugs, to darning socks and coming up with inventive ways to use old plastic bags.  I have always worked with re-purposed and re-cycled materials both because of these habits.  This re-positioning also re-frames how I see everyday objects: by creating new forms with familiar materials raises awareness of consumerism, waste, and cultural values. 

The core inspiration for this project came from a recent encounter I had with a group of Finnish educators at the Next Wave Summit last October in Boston, hosted by the Center for Artistry and Scholarship. Their presentation was focused on love and sustainability in Finnish education and was titled : “Everything Has to Change and it Has to Change Right Now”

The presentation started with an introduction by the former director of the Finnish National Curriculum, Irmeli Halinen, who said: “When I started out in the office here, I remembered the love I felt when my grandparents would read to me, and I thought, I want every Finnish child to feel that love and support while they learn.”

Halinen’s statement almost made me cry, because my grandparents– both the Finnish ones and the others– used to read to me and were all strong advocates for empathetic supportive education as central to civic agency.  Their model has inspired me as an educator and an artist to cut through my own identity and privilege to find common ground with people of every culture, class, race, and ability. My family’s value for education has made me passionate about sharing my power to as an artist to create space for my communities to speak, participate, and connect. Jamaicaway Matins is a work of digital animation, found sounds, and flute designed to highlight the way nature is affected by and permeates urban spaces. It was inspired by Finnish composer, Einojuhani Rautavaara, who is famous for his symphony to biodiversity "Cantus Arcticus," in which he created a rich-multi layered work around recordings of birds in the Finnish polar region.  

In my work, I endeavor to offer love and learning experiences to every participant. By listening to what everyone has to say I hope to make it easier for us to connect, and break down barriers so we can face the multiple points of crisis our world is facing right now. 

Originally set up as a participatory project, in which festival attendees could make their own shadow-puppets to project into the story along with my animations, you are still invited to participate by creating your own shadow puppets, taking a short video of the sights and sounds out your window, or sharing your own drawings of the world around you.  If you participate through twitter or instagram, you can tag your work with #songsofurbanecology or you can get in contact with me directly.  

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