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Henna Asikainen – Forage
18th July 2017

Henna Asikainen is a mixed-media artist born in Joensuu, Finland. She uses different mediums to explore issues concerned with nature and the environment. Her work contributes to the debates around complex ecological issues and explores the poetics of our fundamental relationship with the world around us. She also examines the aesthetic value of nature and the experiences that evoke that value. Her work is focused on the concept of beauty and notions of trauma, as well as commitment to socially and politically engaged art practices.

Henna was commissioned with D6 Culture In Transit to produce a site-specific piece, Forage, for the Platforma Festival in Newcastle – October 2017.

For newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers confined to the city, there are few means to access the rich environment of the region. Getting to know the landscape and broadening one’s experiential context engenders feelings of attachment, pride and love. Henna’s project Forage sought to address this by bringing forth the voices of marginalised groups around issues such as the ownership of, and access to, natural landscape and cultural institutions.

Most importantly, the project offered participants wonderful days in countryside and the opportunity to experience some of the magical National Trust properties in the area. The National Trust supported the project by providing free entry to Seaton Delaval Hall, Gibside, and Cherryburn. The participants also engaged in print-making workshops at Northern Print. An interaction with the Red Rope community of walkers provided the chance for participants to form relationships with local residents, and to develop understanding through the locals’ experiences and knowledge of their community.

The final piece was an amalgamation of these activities in the form of an installation made of foraged matter, displayed at Nunsmoor Park, Fenham during the Platforma Festival in October 2017.

Photos by Arto Polus & Janina Sabaliauskaite

Forage was supported by Arts Council England, D6, and Counterpoints Arts.