Let us start with a potato and stockings. Those items are where my solo work “Pottuja” comes from. Back at the very beginning, I was given an assignment at school to create my self-portrait using a chosen object or objects and present it to others. I decided to look for a defining emotion, something that I could identify with. I’ve always felt a bit different back in Finland where I grew up and even more so since I’ve moved to Europe ( that’s how we call these parts where I come from). Coming where I come from and being who I am blends and reacts with people around me. It can bring a lot of awkwardness in me and this awkwardness is not simple, it’s complex and – I thought – worth studying deeper.
Potato is very dear to me. It’s awkward, round and shapeless at the same time, almost without colour. It’s humble, but can turn into so many delicious, almost fancy things – it stays a potato, even if it’s mashed. It’s a boneheaded veg that doesn’t give up and flourishes in places where fancier vegetables can’t be arsed to grow. Potato is a symbol for my roots. The stockings come from my childhood. When I was a kid, my parents cut my hair very short. I was awfully ashamed by it, because everyone else in my eyes had beautiful long hair. My solution was to wear long, black stockings on my head to have hair like Pocahontas. Or occasionally swap them for a lighter kind and become a blond princess for the day. Obviously, no one except me was in on the fantasy so it must have looked weird to the spectators. I felt great. I was like everyone else. That’s why the stockings symbolise an awkward attempt to fit in the group. To adjust and adapt — hide?
That was the beginning of my creative process. The objects served as inspirations for movement qualities and gave me stylistic direction. Originally, I planned to use both of them as props on-stage, but had to choose one in the end. It was convenient to start with the objects and then use them as depersonalised forms of some of the more tangled bits of my identity.