INNER PROTEST is a exclamation against growing up in an obsolete society based on unfair values which does not match with the reality of today. Through portable protest signs, I express my inner, sincere, and unrestricted feelings. And thus, I question the purpose of life, and invite to look at the pressure, the expectations and the so-called role models imposed by the old generation, which are based on economical and individual profit. They all devaluate mercilessly the common sense and the fundamental needs of human being. And diminish any expression of the inner self.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” – This is one’s favourite question.

What does it mean? It tends to mean what profession we would like to do when we are adults, who we should be. It tends to form that what we should know in advance what we are going to do in the future, when all we have is the present moment. It also tends to make us feel and think that the public status we have is the most important thing in life, and that we are evaluated first and foremost through our professional perspectives.

Should we answer with honesty and be ready to meet discomfort or should we give the answer people want to hear?

A grandchild of the silent generation, daughter of baby boomers, and mother of two millenials teenagers, I am sensitive about the ever growing gigantic canyon between generations and social classes. As an immigrant female artist, I have experienced a variety of discriminations and feelings about not being enough. Often being a misfit becomes the rule instead of being an exception. Educated to think that strong should protect the weak, revolted by the inequalities and discriminations of any form, today I stand up for people who’s voice that is not heard, especially discriminated people and the young generation who no one listens to.

Do we really all have equal opportunities to grow up, be ourself and make our dreams come true? Is being a poor, an immigrant, a war child or a mendiant etc. a personal choice? Why grow up in a world of inequalities? Do we all have a possibility to think and choose what to become when we grow up?

INNER PROTEST is also a natural continuation to my precedent exhibitions; GROWING UP IS A TRAP and WTF, which treated such subjects as the Peter Pan syndrome and the injustice of our double standard society. When growing up and becoming an adult in today’s conditions does not seem to be an attractive option.

In an era of liberal egoism, the growth of inequalities and the massive destruction of our planet earth, I feel the necessity to take a position as an artist. I think that every one should stand up, carrying high a protest sign, and force all the influencers of the world to take a position. The silent witnessing in situations of injustice is like agreeing the injustice to happen.

In my personal life I am interested and engaged in the movement of degrowth, which I apply at my best in every aspects of my life, including my artistic work. I think there is no sense to produce and fill the planet with objects that lack of any sense. I have been growing, and so has my work. This time I am adopting protest art as a form to relay a message to the public.

At first I had the intend to write messages on protest signs with heavy graffiti markers, but during the proceed I realized that I should also express the fact that the inner voice of individual persons is mostly sinking in the mass and not been heard or not taken into consideration.

So I decided to spread out the words like they comes, without premeditation, by using only natural tools, from finger to fist to leave a personal imprint. It was also an aesthetic choice to stay in monochrome. White stands for fairness and equality as it contains an equal balance of all the colors of the spectrum, but also recalls the purity of your inner thoughts, emotions and protection. Rose is for compassion, understanding and unconditional love. Flirting with powerful colors found in Konbini’s logo is a completely serendipitous accident, primary colors can also been found in flag of Sami, the endangered inuit tribe living in North of Finland. Red stands for roots, rebellion, determination and our will to survive. Yellow for confidence and our sense of self worth, how we feel about ourselves and how we are perceived by others. Blue is for loyalty, integrity and our ability to communicate our needs and wants.

The final form of protest signs invites the observer to get closer and create a moment of intimacy to meditate each message separately. Despite the effort, words are hardly appearing, just like our voices not heard, listened  or understood over the crowd.

All the protest signs are produced with birch and spruce pieces of wood from Finnish forests, street art paints, and fingers work. Generally protest signs tends to be ephemeral but these are built to resist! They are portables and could be used as messages in any act of civil disobedience or like individual empowering reminders on the pavement of your city, in your living room or your work place.

In any case, it’s desirable to bypass the traditional art-world institutions and commercial-oriented gallery in an attempt to reach a wider audience. The world should no have limits just like art, and vice-versa. Protest art is rather a method that has been used around the world and Konbini as the most interesting media of today, made for and by the youth is a perfect place to make this happen not to be censured by authorities.

NANA is a visual artist and activist from Finland who lives in Vevey, Switzerland. Raised between a notorious a graffiti ghetto in Helsinki and the wild nature of a tiny island, she has been observing butterflies and social dualities since her youngest age.

Photos by Joachim Sommer