Stigma. Press photo by Heidi Lunabba
Stigma. Press photo courtesy Heidi Lunabba.

Heidi Lunabba in collaboration with Anne Pietarinen


Photographs and installation
Galleria Huuto, Jätkäsaari 2, Helsinki, Finland
23 January – 8 February 2015
Welcome to the opening on Friday 23.1 2015 at 8pm!

Who invites cockroaches over for a sleepover? Who wants to go on a date with a monkey or be a ratʼs friend?

This series of pictures entitled Stigma visualizes different prejudices through animal   characters. The pictures create relationships or situations that are common in our culture but that the norms prevent us from having with “the wrong kind of people”. The animal characters are models wearing masks. The main material used for making the masks is second-hand clothes that give the characters a distinctive look.

A discriminatory mindset is made possible through dehumanization and grouping, division into us and them, into different groups with different characteristics and behavioral models. Individuals are labeled with the groupʼs stigma. There are racists but very few of us want to be considered one of them. Most people know what kind of prejudices there are against different groups in society. We may not accept them, but is it possible to not let them influence our perceptions?

Stigma is part of a larger project in which Heidi Lunabba, in collaboration with people from outside of the art world and based on their experiences, creates pictures that examine and challenge the norms of society. The Stigma series has been produced in collaboration with Anne Pietarinen who also appears in all the pictures.

“My starting point was the idea that we all group our knowledge and experiences. We talk about artists, Christians, women, men, heterosexuals, homosexuals, winners, athletes, losers etc. This is what we do in order to be able to interact with each other. We build concepts and channels through which we perceive the life around us and its phenomena. I believe that this grouping is also sometimes stigmatizing, in which case it turns against people. This is the phenomenon I wanted to address.” This is how Anne describes the starting point for the series of pictures.

“During the project I became curious about how universal the characteristics are that we link with different animals. I asked an open question on Facebook and it sparked off a lively discussion as to which animals have different characteristics, while someone stated that people prefer not to link prejudices with a specific group,” Heidi Lunabba says. The difficulty with the theme is to highlight the norm and the prejudice without reinforcing it. “Through the animal characters we are able to access the prejudice itself instead of reinforcing the prejudice by pointing to a specific group. Foxes, rats and snakes can symbolize different things for different people. The pictures are based on the prejudices we think we see in our society,” Lunabba says about the pictures.

The exhibition is produced with the support of Svenska Kulturfonden, Kordelin foundation and Konstsamfundet.

Stigma. Press photo by Heidi Lunabba
Stigma. Press photo courtesy Heidi Lunabba.

About Heidi Lunabba

Finnish artist Heidi Lunabba (b. 1977) works with social and community art projects, often inviting people to participate. Trough installations, photography and video she explores questions on identity, gender and communication, in public and private spaces. She has an MA in Fine Arts from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and is based in Helsinki, Finland. Heidi has curated Jeppis Pride 2014, a queer art exhibition. Her latest photography projects are Twins (2011) and Dresscode – You are what you wear! (2012) as a part of the Fashion Interactions exhibition in New York in 2013.


Finland: Jeppis Pride 2014

HETERO by Fredrika Bistöm
Photo from the series HETERO by Fredrika Bistöm

Heidi Lunabba - Studio Vilgefortis
Heidi Lunabba – Studio Vilgefortis

Jeppis Pride 2014

at Galleri Gro, Campus Allegro, Runebergsgatan 8, 68600 Jakobstad, Finland
Opening: July 25 at 18.00 – 20.00 hrs.

Jeppis Pride 2014, a queer group exhibition. It runs from July 25 through August 16 2014 in Jakobstad, Finland. Title of the exhibition refers to people belonging to sexual and gender minorities: queer people, who have the right to exist and be visible just like the other ‘normal’ (heteronormative) people. The exhibition is approaching lgbtq topics in diverse ways, but the common denominator is that queer people are moving beyond the narrow confines of the heteronormative mainstream culture.

“‘The principal is GAY!’, I read this on the wall a morning in the bike tunnel on my way to the primary school. My school then organised a serious morning assembly with the message that we should not write smear words about others on the walls. It was my first contact with homosexuality: the banned foul language. I wish all children growing up in a small town to experience a Pride festival instead of a sermon about bad language, and this is the reason why I wanted to create Jeppis Pride 2014,” said curator and artist Heidi Lunabba.

Tvattlina. photo by Ilar Gunilla Persson
Tvattlina. Photo by Ilar Gunilla Persson

Besides physical artwork Jeppis Pride 2014 will also feature performances, the participatory art project Tvättlina (Clothesline in rainbow colors) and workshops. The participating artists are Nina Albrecht, Kenneth Bamberg, Fredrika Biström, Salla Penttilä, Ilar Gunilla Persson, Heidi Lunabba, Alex Råsa Basura and Aino Vuokola. The exhibition also includes a video by Camilla Roos.

Work by Nina Albrecht
Work by Nina Albrecht

Photo by Aino Vuokola
Photo by Aino Vuokola

Related Links

Nina Albrecht and Fredrika Bistöm’s blog

Group Exhibition in Finland: Art is So Gay

Art is So Gay opens on June 26, 2012 at the Forum Box gallery in Helsinki, Finland. This mixed group exhibition will run through July 22, 2012.

Emmi Kattelus writes: “The ‘Art is So Gay’ exhibition will present an uniquely wide selection of contemporary art as a part of Helsinki Pride Festival 2012″. “The exhibition will present the widest selection of art on sexuality and gender in Finland to this date. Included are 40 artists whose works deal with the diversity of sexuality and identity. The exhibition will include paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, drawings, media art, video and performances. The artists are not selected according to their sexual orientation, but how their works fit the Pride theme.”

Art is so Gay Opening reception:
June 26, 2012 at 5pm to 8pm.
Forum Box gallery, Helsinki, Finland

The Child Venus, sculpture by Emma Helle

The Child Venus, ( glazed ceramic clay, height app. 40 cm), sculpture by Emma Helle, 2012. Photo by Miikka Pirinen

The exhibition will be held alongside the Pride in Helsinki June 25 – July 1, 2012 and I have asked a some of the out & proud women artists of the group exhibition to talk about their work and practice.

Sculptor Emma Helle
“I take delight in old, mostly Baroque and Renaissance art. At my latest two exhibitions, history of art in general or some paintings or sculptures in particular have been the subject matter of my works. I cannot promise the viewer any new perspective on the topics, such as the Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus, a work by Rubens that became the namesake of my current solo exhibition [Emma Helle
30.5.-30.6.2012 at Gallaria Sculptor, Helsinki]. I, a queer woman, was fascinated enough by that piece of art to paraphrase it. I cannot give up modelling or remodelling putti, those fantastic, fat, muscular flying babies that populate most of my favorite artworks. I don’t know why, and any added value to the old themes remains for the spectator to find.”

Phoebe and Polydeuces, sculpture by Emma Helle, 2012

Phoebe and Polydeuces, sculpture by Emma Helle, 2012. View of the exhibition in Galleria Sculptor, Helsinki, with Phoebe and Polydeuces in the centre. Photo by Miikka Pirinen

Phoebe, sculpture by Emma Helle, 2012

Phoebe, sculpture by Emma Helle. Phoebe is a part of the work Phoebe and Polydeuces, tempera on red pine, dimensions variable, 2012. Photo by Miikka Pirinen

Performance artist Heidi Lunabba
opens her Studio Vilgefortis, a beard salon at Art is So Gay and invites the women to come to have a beard made in the salon. At the exhibition you can also see a video about Studio Vilgefortis.

Beard Catalog by Heidi Lunabba

Beard Catalog by Heidi Lunabba

Heidi Lunabba says, “I think my art practice deals a lot with identity and gender identity. Identity is a lot about visual expression so I think art is a good medium for talking about that. There haven’t been so many big group exhibitions in Finland dealing with glbt identity, so I think it’s good that the name of the exhibition clearly states the subject.”

In her beard studio Heidi works on raising women’s awareness of the fact that they may look very beautiful/handsome with beard. The androgenous look is quite fun. Get free a makeover and a unique opportunity question you own gender and gender identity for an afternoon at Studio Vilgefortis.

Press photo by Studio Vilgefortis

Press photo by Studio Vilgefortis

Laura Lilja
presents her sculpture Globe from her installation Freak (Basic Education Act of Finland), 2008, at Art is So Gay.

Laura Lilja: “The globe with the mirror tiles stands on a lonely school desk. The audience can put the globe spining. Then also the light spots on the walls go round and round like the toughts and dreams of the outsider, the young queer person in the heteronormative school world. There’s a strong nostalgic feeling in the work – despite of the hard times difference and finding one’s own identity is eventually a richness and dreams can be made true!”

Globe by Laura Lilja, 2008

Globe by Laura Lilja, 2008

Related Links
Posts about Heidi Lunabba at Feminine Moments
Posts about Laura Lilja at Feminine Moments

Finland: Cultural Dresscode Photo Shoot

Press release – translated by Feminine Moments

Cultural Dresscode explores how different classes and social groups create their identity through different visual markers such as style and clothes.

Can we see you class and social identity presented in the clothes which you are wearing?

Cultura Dresscode photo shoot
Glaspalatset Saturday February 25, 2012 at 11:00 – 16:00.

Everyone who is interested in being photographed for the project Cultura DressCodes are welcome at our drop in photo studio at Simonsplatsen, between Glaspalatset and Forum [in Helsingfors, Finland]. The partcipants will also be interviewed.

The visual artist Heidi Lunabba says:”Even though we don’t like to speak about classes in a modern society, we subconciously read, which class a person belongs to. We see the difference between cultural workers and managers. The fact that we don’t like to talk about class makes this topic interesting to explore through art”.

“We explore how class and visual identity are interlinked in Helingfors today. From facts of this investigation we will create an installation with audio, images and objects” says Katherina Haikala, whom together with Vilma Metteri are the artist duo Tärähtäneet Ämmät.

Cultural Dresscode is contemporary art project by Tärähtäneet Ämmät and Heidi Lunabba. The project will be presented at the exhibition Boutique curated by Annamari Vänskä for the Amos Anderssons konstmuseum [in Finland] which will open in August as a part of the Helsinki WDC 2012.

Stockholm Pride: Studio Vilgefortis

Today I will reveal a secret to you: I shave every morning. I love my femininity and am somewhat uncomfortable with my ability to grow a beard… I am not that queer!!! – If I were visiting the Stockholm Pride today (which unfortunately I am not) I would go to talk with Heidi Lunabba about her queer art project Studio Vilgefortis and face the fear of my own masculinity.

Finish artist and queer woman Heidi lunabba says: ‘It is interesting to see that women often are surprised that they actually look quite beautiful with a beard. Many of them are perhaps expecting that they’ll look grotesque, but that may not be the case.’

Press photo by Studio Vilgefortis courtesy of Stockholm Pride

Press photo by Studio Vilgefortis courtesy of Stockholm Pride

Heidi Lunababba opens her barbersalon Studio Vilgefortis at the Stockholm Pride

Studio Vilgefortis
August 4 14:00 – 18:00
August 5 14:00 – 18:00
Pride Sergel (Sergel), Kulturhuset & Stockholms stadsteater
Sergels torg 3, Stockholm, Sweden
Tube station: T-Centralen

Have your beard made for free. Children are also welcome.

‘The beard is a symbol of masculinity. A woman with a beard is not automatically a man, however the beard can give the woman a feeling of having the right to up take more space or in another way do something, which is considered manly. It doesn’t mean that qualities which are considered feminine must go away; and Heidi Lunabba continues: Women with beards creates an ambiguity about their gender, which clashes with narrow minded norms.’

Related Links
Heidi Lunabba’s website