In Between (2019)

Through using a mix of textile and abstract painting, I’m trying to illustrate the situation of in-betweenship that is created by an adoption.

Between the frames, it’s possible to follow my own process of mapping my experience of being adopted, both physically and mentally. Never feeling like I fully belong, I search through my past starting with my birth certificate and ending with my proof of Finnish citizenship. What does it mean to be Finnish? Is it about the culture you grow up in, or is it something you’re born with?

The frames that are filled with sackcloth illustrate my inner landscape. The chaos that yearns to belong but which is stopped by the hard edges, which in this case are represented by threads used in traditional Finnish costumes, and are symbols of the “frames” that I’m allowed to exist within. This chaos also includes strands of my own hair, which shows how it feels to be locked inside your own head by the rules and behaviours you’ve grown up with.

The white frames show the physical part of not fitting in. My body, which is not seen by others as Finnish, is represented by hands and eyes.

Behind all of the frames my official adoption papers show through and weave the frames together in different ways, trying to keep my constructed identity together.