Now I am 47 exhibition consists of photographs, a recorded monologue, an Indian performance, and a milk-churn-stand installation. Everything is a reconstruction: in his works Harmaala returns to his childhood as a middle-aged man. Now I am 47 was shown at the Cable Gallery, May 30–June 20, 2013.
Aulis Harmaala was born into a farming family in Northern Finland, 1966. As a child, he played at being a Native-American Indian in secret, on his own, and dreamed of being a rock star; but in harsh everyday reality he was a scythe-swinging labourer. Harmaala was more interested in his own fantasy world, running around the forest as an Indian or daydreaming about being a rock musician. When these games were exposed, he felt ashamed.
In his own words: “What kind of man should I be? Had I, as a child, already locked myself into playing alone and staying that way? In the prison of external expectations that grew inside me the secret Indian warrior battled with my own sense of insignificance. The social expectations of my environment meant that the Indian warrior had to back down. But he was not forgotten.
In my photographs I as an adult play the part of an Indian, a rock star and a labourer. On the recordings it is both the child and the adult me speaking. In the Indian performance my fantasies and shame about these secret games are lived out in front of everyone present. My childhood home is symbolised by a milk-churn stand. This is a shelter made out of planks, where dairy farms brought their milk churns for transportation to the dairy. These stands disappeared along with the small farms in the 1980s. The milk-churn stand was also a meeting place and a link with the outside world: with the village, the town, with getting away from home. In returning to the milk-churn stand I am writing my own story and exhibiting my own place.”