Cleaner’s Voice by Martta Tuomaala at Gallery Jangva, Helsinki

Dagmar has been working 16 hour days from Monday to Sunday without overtime pay. Leena has had to drive buses after only an hour of training and Kirsti became homeless when her resilience was not sufficient. 

At one time, the cleaner was a familiar face in the workplace. Under the guise of the depression in the 90´s a decision was made, to privatise and outsource services, to incorporate as well as to tender contracts. The employee’s position changed significantly. Now, the cleaner has the most noticeable uniform in the building, but still she/he is invisible. Today the cleaner is African, tomorrow Finnish and the day after that Iranian. The only common indicator is the uniform, which also changes colour in accordance to the cheapest offer.

In Martta Tuomaala’s solo exhibition, it is the voices of the cleaners that are heard. The exhibition depicts the general structures of the cleaning industry and simultaneously relates the story of the cleaner in Finnish society, from the worker´s own point of view.

The exhibition and artworks are supported by The Kone Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, (AVEK)The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture

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