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Katriina Haikala. Photo: Noora Lehtovuori.

Article categories: Archive News

Katriina Haikala draws portraits of women - the drawing performances are part of the autumn exhibition at Kuntsi

Published: 24.5.2023

Artist Katriina Haikala draws portraits of women in public spaces, such as museums and galleries. Her encounter-based drawing performance has continued since 2017 and, after Oslo, Paris and New York, will also take place in Vaasa as part of the upcoming exhibition that will open in September at the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art.

The drawing performance is called Social Portrait – Women Only, and in it Katriina Haikala draws the image of a woman forgotten in art history. Through portraits, the history of art becomes part of the history of power, and power has known to have a very homogeneous face. This is why Haikala only draws women, respecting everyone’s right to self-definition.

Haikala’s goal is to balance the canon of art by drawing as many portraits of women as possible. Since 2017, Haikala has immortalised almost 1,000 women around the world; in Finland, Great Britain, Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Japan and the USA.

The drawing performance takes place in a public space, such as a museum or gallery, surrounded by the public. According to Haikala, that’s exactly what makes women visible in the context of art history.

–Being seen is an inherent part of the experience of existence. This is why when I draw, I don’t look at the paper at all but look intensely at the woman sitting in front of me. With this method I want to emphasise the act of making women seen and thereby acknowledged, says Katriina Haikala.

The drawing performance will be seen on four Saturdays

The artist always draws two portraits of each woman, and the sitter gets to choose one of the portraits for herself.

With her performance art, Haikala participates in the group exhibition Dimensions of a Line, which will open in September at the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art. The drawing performance will be seen on four Saturdays during the exhibition (7 October, 2023, 10 February, 2024, 9 March 2024 and 6 April, 2024 from 12:00 -14:00 and from 15:00 – 17:00). The artist draws portraits of women, but everyone is welcome to watch the performance. No reservation needed. Participation is included in the museum’s entrance fee.

In the group exhibition, Finnish and international contemporary artists reflect on line variations with different material choices. The exhibition has been curated by Maaria Salo.