Perspectives on IHME Project 2017


IHME Contemporary Art Festival continues this week until Saturday in the Finnish Salvation Army Temple, which hosts a video installation by Festival Artist Theaster Gates. Invited commentators share their experiences of Gates’s artwork The Black Charismatic on the last day of the installation, April 29, at 23 p.m. The discussion will be held in Finnish, but comments in English are welcome.

Every year IHME has invited people from different fields and backgrounds to share their experiences of the IHME Project. This year the people commenting on the Project and participating in Saturday’s discussion forum will be feminist, activist Maija Baijukya; architect and musician Tuomas Toivonen; and Finnish Salvation Army PR officer and digital marketing developer Joona Junkkari. As an introduction to their point of view, please find links to their brief video comments below.

Your chance to win a record by The Black Monks of Mississippi

After the discussion, those in attendance will have the chance to win a record by Gates’s musical ensemble The Black Monks of Mississippi in a raffle. As part of the IHME Project, the Festival has produced a set of albums by the group One, Grace and Out. Currently, the records are not available for sale to the public. The raffle is therefore a unique chance to win one of the first three LPs by the Monks and join in their musical journey also after the Festival events.

From racialised history to contemporary community

Maija Baijukya, a Helsinki-based feminist, is one of the journalists behind the new Ruskeat Tytöt (“Brown Girls”) web media. She met IHME artist Gates in autumn 2016. Her experience of Gates’s work, especially the concert in Temppeliaukio Church, is that it has helped to heal the wounds from black history that those who are racialised still carry with them. ”I could contemplate those feelings – and sort of swim through them,” she says.

Click here to see Baijukya’s video comment >

IHME artist Gates also got to know Tuomas Toivonen on his first visit to Finland. The Finnish architect recognises Gates’s work as an attempt to attach meaning to spaces and give them more value. Toivonen, who created Helsinki’s Culture Sauna together with his wife, designer Nene Tsuboi, poses the question: if churches can be vibrant cultural spaces on the Chicago artist’s local streets, what kind of centres of cultural life do we have here?

Click here to see Toivonen’s interpretation (in Finnish) >

Joona Junkkari, who works with the Finnish Salvation Army, found the direct connection to faith in Gates’s works touching as Finnish spirituality tends to be more sterile. ”There doesn’t have to be rites, symbols or sacraments,” he says.

Click here to see Junkkari’s comment (in Finnish) >

The discussion about The Black Charismatic is also an opportunity to become familiar with this hidden architectural gem, which was built in 1895 in the Punavuori district of Helsinki as a place for the Salvation Army to gather and worship.

Discussion about the 2017 IHME Project The Black Charismatic by Theaster Gates will be held on Saturday, April 29 at 2 p.m. in the Finnish Salvation Army Temple (Uudenmaankatu 40). The discussion panel is comprised of Maija Baijukya (Brown Girls collective), Joona Junkkari (Finnish Salvation Army) and Tuomas Toivonen (architect, musician). After the discussion there will be a chance to win one of six debut albums by The Black Monks of Mississippi.

The Black Charismatic video installation is open to the public every day until April 29th from Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.