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  • Writer's picturePäivi Maria Wells

Art and Soul: Petri Mikael Kahra

Petri Mikael Kahra is a brilliantly multitalented Finnish photographer and a musician based in the Western Finland’s coastal town of Vaasa. I was fortunate to meet Petri during my exhibition ‘Pictures from Silence’ that took place in Vaasa on summer 2016. Petri shared with me his beautiful footage which he had captured on Kvarken archipelago, a coastal area near Vaasa. This is the very same seaside where I spend much of my time when in Finland. It is a place that resonates deeply in me and in my photography.

boat anchored on summer night in Replot, Kvarken on western Finland
Late summer night on Replot, an island of Kvarken. © Päivi Maria Wells

Kvarken is a narrow marine region between Finland and Sweden with an outstandingly beautiful rocky archipelago. It is also a unique geographical entity. The land was formed by the melting of the glacier some 10 000 - 24 000 years ago. The land in the area continues a steady rise of about 8,5 mm a year and is one of fastest elevating areas in the world. The rising land forms around one square kilometre of new land space every year. As a child I use to be mesmerised by the thought that one day (2500 years from now) people could walk, drive or cycle the 80 km distance to Sweden. Finland’s Kvarken archipelago forms a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with Sweden’s High Coast (Höga Kusten).

Whenever I am anxious and overwhelmed about the state of affairs in our world I try to bring at least one moment of beauty and silence to my day. This has become a daily practice and it allows me to go rationally forward with whatever it is that I am facing. Petri’s music video is a deeply honest tribute to this kind of approach. It is also a message to all of us about the importance of the natural environment and the gentle power it holds. Art that is born from pure awareness and which bears witness to our deep human experience honours the fact that our imagination can never compete with the reality of nature. Petri’s art brings us right to the edge of this knowledge. For me his wordless language speaks volumes.

'Nature Time - Ajasta Irti' © Petri Mikael Kahra 2017

Petri published his video ‘Nature Time’ on a day when Finland celebrated her first official Nature Day. As part of the 100 years of Independence celebrations in 2017, Finland is now a first country in the world to officially fly a flag in the honour of the natural environment.

Amongst the overwhelming noise of the world my aim is to listen more carefully to the quieter more delicate voices that are secluded all around us. Most often it is these voices that offer us the kind of insight which no amount of glamour and chatter could ever do. Introducing these creative people will be titled "Art and Soul”.

Petri Mikael Kahra website:



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