• Anna Pekkala: Free Billy
  • Anna Pekkala, Galleria Huuto
  • Anna Pekkala, Galleria Huuto
  • Anna Pekkala, Galleria Huuto
  • Anna Pekkala, Galleria Huuto

Anna Pekkala: Free Billy

19.7.-11.8.2019

Anna Pekkala
Free Billy
19.7.-11.8.2019

Anna Pekkala (b. 1989) visited a killer whale show in January. The whales jumped from the water with bass music blasting from the speakers and the audience enjoyed the show. This experience was linked to a childhood memory of the Free Willy movie from 1994.

Pekkala’s exhibition FREE BILLY was created on the basis of these experiences and memories. The exhibition is dominated by a large human-like killer whale, a sculpture with a wooden frame covered by a black material. Pekkala presents facts and is slightly melancholic. She does not rant and rave about her criticism, instead she tries to make the exhibition visitors think for themselves. What rights do humans have in relation to animals, can an animal be owned and when is it better for an animal to be at the mercy of a human?

Pekkala also reminds the visitors about the trade in baby animals at marine animal parks. Animals are often bred through artificial insemination. Due to the genetic diversity of killer whales in captivity, a whale called Kshamenk, for example, lives alone in a park in Argentina. He has not seen another killer whale in 20 years, but his sperm is constantly being used. What makes this situation particularly sad is knowing that, in the wild, a family group of killer whales may have members from four generations living together.

Anna Pekkala has been working with animal-themed sculptures ever since her graduation. Whales were also the theme of her final project. Currently, the summer exhibition in Nastola features Sun Sharks and Lavender Dolphins. Pekkala’s works often include a narrative level, a story that opens up when one literally steps into one of her artworks.

She sometimes deals with environmental and animal protection issues in a controversial manner and sometimes with a more factual tone. Her materials are often recycled. For example, last summer the Mänttä Art Festival featured large dinosaurs made of recycled timber.

FREE BILLY is a balanced and respectful work, a kind of journey into the metalevel of killer whale protection, images and hopes. The brutal animal trade and use of animals for entertainment is still a reality, even though animal protection activists have tried to promote improvements for decades.

Pekkala draws inspiration from news headlines and nightmare scenarios. In addition to the human tone, her works sometimes include humorous elements. Pekkala has the ability to find a balance between serious and funny, without making fun of anything else but mankind’s inability to solve issues in spite of having the required knowledge and skills.

Veikko Halmetoja

More information:
Anna Pekkala
www.annapekkala.com
anna.a.pekkala(at)gmail.com