• Laura Lilja
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Laura Lilja


Viiskulma 9.1.-20.1.2008

At the age of six, I was eagerly waiting for the school to start – although very worried that I’d never learn how to read.

During my first year at school, I didn’t say a single word to the older boys. I made my teacher angry by doing all the extra exercises in my maths book right away. By the end of elementary school, I had learned to knit, although in the other direction than the right-handed girls. On recesses, I played ice hockey, baseball or hide and seek. At middle school, I sang in the choir and bought my first pair of jeans which I then customized at textile work. My art works throughout seventh grade were about horses. I lent money to the toughest girl in class, took my glasses of for the recesses and smoked my first cigarettes – and got always caught smoking. I went to the school dance parties, wrote letters to a boy during class and got a nasty anonymous card for Valentine’s Day.

After comprehensive school, I went to high school and carried straight on to the university to study mathematics. I was chosen into the teacher trainee program and during my five years at the university, I acted as a substitute teacher quite a lot, both at elementary and high schools. In 1999, before starting my Master’s Thesis and graduating, I wanted to take a year off.

I applied for an art school and got in. Before the school started and I moved from northeastern to southwestern Finland, I taught myself to say out loud: “I’m bisexual. I’m a lesbian.”

In the Galleria Huuto exhibition, I present Friikki (Freak), which has its starting point in the Finnish school system and the ideas that basic education gives about gender and sexuality. The exhibition is formed of reconstructions of typical classroom items, all of which have been portrayed from the point of view of challenging conventional ideas of gender and sexuality. This has been done by means of disguise, superficiality, repetition and parody.

The exhibition has been supported by the Arts Council of Satakunta.

Additional info: Laura Lilja, tel. +358 44 291 9119, laura@lauralilja.net