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Dialogue is an outdoor photography exhibition showcasing nature photographs taken in Turku, seen through the eyes of two different generations – a father and a son. It is a certain kind of intergenerational dialogue conveyed through photographs, and focused on the classical beauty of Finnish nature and the traces left on this beauty by human activity – and on the other hand, the traces left by nature on these marks of human activity. In this exhibition, a dialogue between two different worldviews and two different photographic techniques can also be seen. Also, due to the exhibition’s location, it also features a dialogue between two different environments – the natural environment and the urban city environment.

At the beginning of 2023, while going through the belongings of my recently deceased father, I found his slides captured in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This relatively extensive collection contained a variety of nature and portrait photos, some of which were taken in the Runosmäki area, in Turku. At that time, as I examined these slides for the very first time, the idea of a photo exhibition was born – an exhibition that would honour my father’s memory by showcasing these nature photographs by him. Alongside of these six nature photos selected from his slide collection, I have chosen an equal number of my own digital photos taken during the years 2012-2019. These, like my father’s photos, I have “converted” into large scale slides – to honour the film type my father liked so much. This has also had its impact on to the exhibition’s name “Dialogue” (slide in Finnish is “diakuva” or just “dia”).

This photo exhibition is a tribute to my father and his lifetime work.

Salim Sheikh

Saied Sheikh (1941 Nainital, India – 2023 Turku) was a self-taught artist, journalist, translator, poet, and photographer. More information about him can be found through the QR code located at the bottom right corner of this information board. The code is linked to an article (only available in Finnish) with permission from Turun Sanomat. His son Salim “Colt21” Sheikh (b. 1983) is a self-taught artist from Turku who works with graffiti, collage, and photography, among other media.

Saied Sheikh arrived in Finland at the end of the 1970s. While living in the Runosmäki residential area in Turku, during the late 1970s and early 1980s, he photographed the surrounding nature with his spouse Sirpa. These photos vividly reveal how this newly arrived Indian man saw the Finnish nature at that time – and also how much he appreciated it.

By capturing the forest landscapes of Runosmäki, he clearly aimed to document Finnish nature in all its beauty, purity and verdancy – while his son Salim, been born in Finland, began to look a bit deeper, paying attention to various “flaws” visible in nature: abandoned, forgotten objects left by humans, deteriorated environments, and structures reminiscent of past times, traces of the past. Over the years, Salim has aimed to document these encounters – or conflicts – between man and nature, the borderline areas between natural and human environments.

Together these photos taken by the two generations form a very interesting whole – a combination of clean, almost untouched nature and, on the other hand, the traces of human activity gradually merging back into nature.

Photographs: Saied Sheikh & Salim Sheikh
Technical execution: Salim Sheikh & Nana Blomqvist
Frame design and execution: Hasan Al-Rubaye

This photo exhibition has been made possible by the support of Pro Equilibrium ry and Art House Turku. Pro Equilibrium ry has been organizing outdoor exhibitions on Luostarin Välikatu since the summer of 2021, starting with the photo exhibition Love Crossing Boundaries.

Would you like to organize your own outdoor exhibition in this place, hung in these frames? Contact: proeqry@gmail.com / Nana Blomqvist, Pro Equilibrium ry

Enquiries concerning the exhibition and works: colt21er@gmail.com / Salim “Colt21” Sheikh

The list of works is available at Cafe Elephanten during it’s opening hours: Mon-Sun 10 am – 8 pm