Mustekalan syyskuun näyttely: Raakel Kuukka, Rebekka

27.9. 2005 Carl-Dag Lige
Where is the Home of a Black Girl?

Raakel Kuukka’s photo-exhibition “Rebekka”( in Gallery Hippolyte 9.9. – 2.10. 2005) proposes questions about the relationship between the globalizing world and the individual living in it. Is the national-cultural identity in the modern society acute and possible at all? Can a person living in a foreign culture (or environment in general) be an individual with a possibility to live a life at its fullest even without knowing the specific cultural codes and norms? If anything at all, what makes special a child from mixed marriage? Is it possible to engage multicultural tolerance?

The central and the only figure in Kuukka’s photographs is the twelve-year-old dark-colored Rebekka. As a talented portraitist, Kuukka has captured the direct and sincere character of Rebekka while she is dancing, dreaming, self-consciously posing. Pictures of the girl are exhibited side by side with the views of luscious-green rainforests. Making reference to the origin of Rebekka, the views of jungle arise a question: where would Rebekka really like to live, here in Finland or there in Mosambique? Mother of the girl is Finnish (the artist herself) and her father is from Mosambique.

No doubt Rebekka feels deeply connected with the roots of her both parents. She doesn’t feel awkward posing in Finnish traditional dress nor in bright-coloured African costume. Rebekka likes to celebrate Christmas as well as to dream in the rainforests. The girl is self conscious of her being here and now, where ever she is. She is pleased and comfortable with herself.

The key-photos of the exhibition are the portraits of a casually-clothed Rebekka dancing and being free of all worries. These are photos of a person, who connects the wisdom of different cultures, who is aware of her roots, a person, who is above the potential controversies in her identity and is waiting to be accepted by the society she is living in. Nationalism and xenophobia are strange things to her. Her personal identity is primarily and constructively open-minded, open-hearted, ready for new experiences and she is expecting the same from the others.

Carl-Dag Lige is
an exchange student of art history in the Helsinki University