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Jaakko Kahilaniemi has won the Majaoja Prize 10.000e

Photographic artist Jaakko Kahilaniemi has won the main prize 10.000 euros awarded by Majaoja Foundation with his photo series 100 Hectares of Understanding. The series deals with forest and understanding and owning it.
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Jaakko Kahilaniemi (b. 1989) is a Finnish visual artist and photographer. Kahilaniemi is currently conducting a master's degree in photography at Aalto University. He has graduated from the Turku University of Applied Sciences (2014). The 100 Hectares of Undestanding exhibition was screened at the Museum of Photography in June.

In his photo series, Kahilaniemi deals with the 100 hectares of forest land he has inherited, as well as the responsibilities and obligations that owning forest has brought within. Kahilaniemi inherited the forest as a child, but had not previously considered what it means to be a forest owner. The idea that a person can own a part of nature is absurd to Kahilaniemi.

Conflicting relationship with the forest as a starting point

- My relationship to forests has been controversial throughout my adult life. I have been indifferent to my hectares. The 100 Hectares of Understanding exhibition was born out of the need to understand this world unknown to me, Kahilaniemi explains.

Kahilaniemi is not looking for answers by photographing his forest, but rather raises questions to himself. These controversial feelings created a visual entity with some concrete photographs of the forest and some more abstract, questioning the significance of the forest. During the project the unknown forest became more personal and familiar to Kahilaniemi. His photo series visualizes the importance of forests and forestry. With his work Kahilaniemi shows what nature can give to modern city people.

The Majaoja prize winners were selected by the Backlight'17 Photo Festival. Backlight Photo Festival is the oldest international photography festival in Finland having its 30th jubilee in 2017. Kahilaniemi's series 100 Hectares of Understanding convinced the jury with its square uniqueness. The topic is familiar – its even said that forest is the second home for the Finns, a mutual, mental space where all our roots could be traced. The artist is now slicing this home and heritage into pieces, measuring and weighting, archiving it with nearly scientific preciseness – yet keeping the human warmth in it. The series is ambitious, insightful and carefully considered until the production of the final piece of art and the entitling. One can sense the attachment and responsibility the artist, the owner has towards his forest.

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