Project Room, Helsinki, FI, 2.2.–18.2.2018
In his exhibition, ”Huoli” (Worry), Tuomas Linna deals with the Finnish child welfare services. Linna has photographed items that have been confiscated from the children, as well as drawings and writings of the children Furthermore, Linna has recorded stories told by young people who have been in institutional care.
Child welfare services offer many different types of support to families. In extreme cases they arrange for the child to be cared for outside of the home. This is usually a last resort, used only after all other options have been exhausted.
Children are easily left out of the public discussion. They are not in a position to offer insight on their situation and they are left without a voice in the media. This is partly justified, as any one child should not be singled out as an example of a problem, and because you need parental consent to interview a child.
The problems of children and families should be a central concern in the public forum based on numbers alone. In the year 2016, all together 17,330 children were placed in foster care either in emergency placements or because they were taken into care. This means one in a hundred children living in Finland.
Linna brings up this seemingly forgotten subject through his photographs.
Linna has cropped the pictures of the items seized from children in a way which leaves out everything that could give you a hint about the story behind the object. Many of the items are clearly meant for injuring others. However, often the context is not a intention to hurt but a deep rooted feeling of insecurity: a belief that others – adults – cannot take care of the child’s wellbeing. The specifics about what kind of threats the children feel the need to safeguard themselves against are left out of the pictures. However the drawings and writings of the children contain clues.
The text is based on the article Näkyä ei saa, eikä kuulua (It may not be visible nor audible) by postdoctoral researcher Henrik Rydenfelt
The exhibition is supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Oskar Öflunds Foundation, Patricia Seppälä Foundation.