The newly independent Finland was plunged into civil war in January 1918. The main focus of the exhibition are individuals who experienced this tragedy. Immortalised at the photography studio Atelier Nyblin in Helsinki in 1918, these individuals are eyewitnesses to their era, and through them the war’s tragic chain of events is laid out before us, little by little.
The exhibition takes the visitors through this painful period in Finnish history with the help of portraits and events that took place on the days when the photographs were taken. While Mrs Grönberg was sitting down to be photographed at Atelier Nyblin in Helsinki on 17 March 1918, the news of a major offensive by the Whites was meanwhile being received in Tampere.
Behind the portraits, the exhibition reveals a nation that was divided by social inequality, political conflicts, recession and a food shortage. Hatred led to blind violence that resulted in the deaths of approximately 38,000 people. In addition to other family and friends, over ten thousand widows and orphans were left grieving.
The exhibits by students of production design at Aalto University symbolise dichotomy and guilt. Keeping silent about the war’s Red victims, destroying evidence and pardoning the White executioners have left their mark in Finnish culture. The acts of violence committed during the civil war of 1918 are a collective crime, and we continue to live with its wounds today.
The exhibition will be open in the pop-up facility of the National Museum of Finland from 3 March to 30 April 2018. Free entry.