Meet the SHIFT mentoring programme participants Kaija Hinkula and Santeri Sarkola

Finnish Art Agency’s first mentoring programme is coming to an end. There were nine participants, each in different stages of their artistic career. FAA wants to shortly introduce all the participants, starting with painter Kaija Hinkula and photographer Santeri Sarkola.

“SHIFT mentoring programme has demanded to examine myself from the outside: to stop and define myself as an artist”

“Due to the mentoring programme I have been thinking more about being an artist and in what should I concentrate in my work” states Santeri Sarkola, one of the youngest participant in the programme. “Interaction and discussions within the framework of SHIFT have also created space for new ideas and forms in my artistic practice” adds Kaija Hinkula, “artist’s work is often lonely, through SHIFT I got a chance to evoke responses, and review my ideas and thoughts.” Meetings with other art professionals made all the difference. From them Sarkola got constructive feedback and the necessary motivation to continue his practice. Keeping up with the exhibition application deadlines and portfolio reviews, as well as giving advice about website contents and other practical information are vital points for an emerging artist. For Hinkula, one of the most interesting part of the programme was the SHIFT seminar where one could learn more about curators work, and hear examples from an international aspect.

From silence to chaos

“Through the programme I have realized that I have to start planning my works more effectively and experiment more. Unfortunately my daytime job as a photographer takes lots of time from actually producing new works and taking part in exhibitions” Sarkola notes. His photography series Border of Mind started as empowering self-portraits which Sarkola would like to expand to communal workshops with mental health patients and children.

At the moment Hinkula is creating new works for her solo exhibition in tm-gallery in Helsinki opening on May 2016. “These last few years my works have dealt with silence and silent movement. I have created visually silent places and peaceful resting spaces in different galleries. Now I have moved from calm colours to blazing ones: in my new series Indian Express I’m looking for joy, sound and energy, as well as ways to manage chaos.” Hinkula explains. She works with intuitive painting method creating energizing compositions, lightness and plays with colours. From the ten paintings being displayed one can detect references to Hinkula’s trips to Asia. “I had a chance to continue the idea of painting’s energy by creating an installation recently in Lappeenranta. The Yellow Painting is part of 5000m2 exhibition event opening in Lappeenranta on 13.2.2016. “I consider painting as my main medium but in my future room installations I’m planning to use voice and audio as well” Hinkula closes.

Kaija Hinkula’s upcoming solo exhibition in tm-gallery 11.5.–29.5.2016


This is the first part of the series introducing our SHIFT mentoring programme participants in 2015.