Tree People:
An Exhibition from Finland

January 18 – March 15, 2018

Opening Reception:
Thursday, January 18 / 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Ritva Kovalainen and Sanni Seppo, two Finnish photographers, have created an exhibition from their travels in Finland, Estonia, and East Karelia, a rural area bordering Russia. From an almost forgotten treasure of customs and beliefs, they present an artistic interpretation that emphasizes the spiritual connection between man and nature.

A world in which everything is new, young, just bought, and containing no trace of those who lived before us, is like a clouded mirror that reflects but a pale shadow of our essential nature. The felling of old trees, like the demolition of old buildings, is wanton desertification of our spiritual environment.

Forests bind carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen needed by all living things. They are complex ecosystems. The disappearance of natural forests throws the environment out of balance. The dwindling of the world’s forests is a threat to our existence. Our fate depends on how well we take care of trees and forests and their living space. Ancient trees are living reminders of the depth of time, both past and future. Human beings need meaning-charged environments in order to see the course of their own lives more clearly as a part of history and the great current of life.

This exhibition, presented in the United States for the first time, is underpinned with myths and folklore that were once central to people’s lives. One of the most enthralling of these is the myth of the World Tree. Growing at the center of the world, and because of its mighty size, it acts as a link between earth and sky. It is also often referred to as the ‘tree of fate’, on whose leaves every person’s future is written.

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[ IMAGES top to bottom ]

The Aaltio family and their yard-birch, Keuruu

Kaisu´s, Toivos´s and Arvo´s name-trees, Raatala