Henna Asikainen

Temporary and site specific installation, created with local communities, including refugees and asylum seekers newly arrived in Newcastle.

Henna Asikainen is a mixed-media artist born in Joensuu, Finland. She uses different mediums to explore issues concerned with nature and the environment. Her work contributes to debates around ecology, exploring the poetics of our relationship with the world around us. Focusing on the concept of beauty and notions of trauma, Henna is committed to socially and politically engaged art practices.

Henna was commissioned with D6 Culture In Transit to produce a site-specific piece, Forage, for the Platforma Festival in Newcastle – October 2017.

For newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers confined to the city, there are few means to access the rich environment of the region. Getting to know the landscape and broadening one’s experiential context engenders feelings of attachment, pride and love. Henna’s project Forage sought to address this by bringing forth the voices of marginalised groups around issues such as the ownership of, and access to, natural landscape and cultural institutions.

Most importantly, the project offered participants wonderful days in countryside and the opportunity to experience some of the magical National Trust properties in the area. The National Trust supported the project by providing free entry to Seaton Delaval Hall, Gibside, and Cherryburn. The participants also engaged in print-making workshops at Northern Print. An interaction with the Red Rope community of walkers provided the chance for participants to form relationships with local residents, and to develop understanding through the locals’ experiences and knowledge of their community.

The final piece was an amalgamation of these activities in the form of an installation made of foraged matter, displayed at Nunsmoor Park, Fenham during the Platforma Festival in October 2017.

Forage was supported by Arts Council England, D6, and Counterpoints Arts.

In 2017-2018 we worked with a range of artists on a variety of touring and place-based commissions across the UK; we’re also working with several artists to scale-up projects via R&D and through ongoing creative mentoring and learning.


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