Ritva Kovalainen & Sanni Seppo

Forests of the North Wind
26 January – 19 May 2024

Forests of the North Wind portrays the northern coniferous forests that sustain a diverse array of life and are home to tens of thousands of species. One species lives in an owl pellet, another at the root of an ancient pine snag , and a third requires hundreds of acres of space. For some, one metre is a long distance, and for others, a hundred years is too short a time. All of them are interwoven through intricate interaction networks.

The photographs in the exhibition were taken in protected areas of Finnish natural forests, which now constitute only a few percent of the country’s forest areas. The majority of the forests have been transformed by intensive forestry into something fundamentally different from what they would be naturally. There are numerous species that cannot survive in the new conditions. We are so used to landscapes shaped by humans that we risk forgetting what a natural forest looks like.

Forests of the North Wind is the final part of a forest trilogy by photographers Ritva Kovalainen and Sanni Seppo. The first two parts are Tree People (1997), an exploration of Finnish forest mythology, and Silvicultural Operations (2009), which highlights the downsides of forestry.

Ritva Kovalainen (b. 1959) is a photographic artist whose numerous books, short films and exhibitions are themed particularly on the human relationship with nature.

Sanni Seppo (b. 1960) is a photographic artist whose work speaks about people’s community action to defend their rights, the relationship between humans and nature, and fragile dreams of living a unique life.

The exhibition at the Turku Art Museum is supported by the Finnish Heritage Agency.