Eija-Liisa Ahtila




Photo series





Eija-Liisa Ahtila

Ilppo Pohjola




2011 | Children's monitor work @ Mobile Museum, various countries in West Africa

Mobile Museum a project initiated by UNESCO, was a mobile art mobile created for children who are not regularly exposed to contemporary – or any – art. The MOBILE MUSEUM was built atop a big lorry, which travelled from France to West Africa, through Burkina Faso to the Dakar Biennale in Senegal. The opening of the touring exhibition was held in Paris in October 2011.

The purpose of the Mobile Museum  was to build a cultural bridge not only between Europe and Africa, but also between art and the everyday, as well as adults and children. Many acknowledged artists from around the world were part of the initiative.

COMPANIONS, captivates the joys of being a child, introducing the games and friends of childhood through an everyday fantasy. Companions was simultaneously shown on three monitors, so that the work surrounds the viewer and captivates their imagination.

The work begins with winter shots from the Aulanko nature reserve, where two young boys, dressed in bright colors, sledge down a hill. The boys are both Finnish, but one of them has been born in Africa and the other in China. Their screams of joy and laughter are mixed with the sounds of birds chirping and the snow screeching as the sledge moves. The viewer follows the sledge while it moves and jumps and flies. Mid-flow, the season changes from winter to spring and then summer. The boys jump fully clothed into a lake, and as they are diving deeper, they are shown swimming in bathing trunks among fish. When they eventually reach the surface of the lake, it is winter again. The work takes the viewer from winter to spring, and through summer and autumn back to winter again, showing the joy to be found in every season, in every child.