I was in Kökar for two weeks at the end of the summer. The Åland Archipelago Guest Artist Residence is located on Hellsö Island, close to Kökar guest harbour. Fortunately, when I arrived, the tourist season was over, and the harbor quieted down to wait for the fall. The residence was built in the 1950s as a health center and later served as a municipal agency, among other things. Today, it has three apartments and two workspaces for the visiting artists. The residence also has its own little pier, where I went almost every day to greet jellyfish.
My residency was both rest and work. I took long walks and equally long naps. On the other hand, I was able to focus on making art quite intensively. Working at residencies is always a bit difficult for me. Painting requires a lot of materials and a space that allows clutter and stains. That’s why I focus the actual painting work on my own studio and make plans and applications in residencies or try new techniques. The new living environment also opens the mind to new thinking and it is easier to throw yourself into different experiments. This time I ended up drawing with oil pastels. The drawings will be part of my solo exhibition opening at Galleria Saskia early next year.
I really enjoyed the silence and closeness to nature of Kökar. Instead of people, mostly deer and hares were visible from the window. The archipelago gives you room to breathe and think and that is why I am happy to return there again and again.