A Man Born in Northern Finland in 1966

Exhibition at Kulttuuritalo Laikku Studio, Tampere, December 2019.

Aulis Harmaala’s work consists of paintings and wood sculptures. The paintings depict the old and new boundaries of sex and sexuality from the early days of the author’s life to the present day. Wood sculptures are handmade ritual objects of masculinity, femininity and something in between. They have no categories or verbal definitions.

In Harmaala’s words: I did not become the kind of Northern Finnish man raised by my childhood community. Social and cultural upheavals, studies and my sexuality alienated me from the masculine models of my home village. And the world around me changed even faster than I did. The habits and taboos I have learned remain in place, mix, change. I forget and keep them at the same time. How do they affect me? Everything I now know about human diversity has already existed somewhere. But in the past, many things had no names. What about now, how I find myself as a man, as a human being? I am aware of, but I may not understand.

Hän. In Finnish, the word “hän” (he, she) is gender neutral. Oil on canvas, 38 x 46 cm, 2019.


A man from Northern Finland. Wooden sculpture with lingonberries, 2019.

Installation view, Kulttuuritalo, Studio Laikku

Cis-male. oil on canvas, 35 x 46 cm, 2019.