Swedish photographer Senay Berhe captured life and nature in Finland — here’s what he learned
Showcasing snapshots from Helsinki, Turku, and the Åland islands in the new exhibition ”WTF — Welcome to Finland”.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
October 14, 2022
The Stockholm-based artist and photographer explains how he tries to embody a simplistic beauty in everyday contexts in his art. Together with Visit Finland, he and his brother Haben spent last spring and summer experiencing different parts of what the neighbour has to offer.
— My goal was to create a dynamic exhibition with different formats and show the country through my own eyes. The images are shown both small and on a large scale, and printed on different types of materials, prints, wood, and fabric.
What was the biggest surprise when visiting Finland?
— Growing up in Sweden there has always been some sort of friendly rivalry between Swedes and Finns, which I intended to explore more of. Finland is so close to home, but still feels quite different, and that feeling was something I wanted to capture in the imagery. However, even though you can find cultural differences, it became even more clear to me that we also share a lot of similarities, says Berhe. He continues:
— Another funny thing we learned, the hard way, is that you have to wave to the bus driver if you want the bus to stop. We arrived in Helsinki on a Sunday and most spots were unfortunately closed, both Sunday and Monday. So I would recommend everyone traveling for leisure to get there on a Tuesday, or later in the week. However, I think what I appreciated the most was being able to get around town so easily and taking long walks, which is essential for me while taking in a city and trying to capture the things I enjoy.
What place do you want to go back to again?
— Definitely Helsinki. I want to go back to Sea Horse, a local restaurant with beautiful interiors and typical Finnish home cooking. Another favorite spot is Sompasauna, with various wood-burning self service saunas in one space, open around the clock. If you’re lucky, like we were, you might get to experience a live performance. We met a construction guy, who kind of came from nowhere and started to sing Leonard Cohen’s song while playing on the piano — perfectly placed by the lake, says Berhe.
”WTF - Welcome to Finland” is on display at gallery Crum Heaven in Stockholm until October 20.