John Nurminen Foundation creates an exhibition on the Finns’ relationship with the sea

In its new cultural project, the John Nurminen Foundation collects sea-themed memories from the Finns. The goal of the project, called a Sea of Memories, is to open up new vistas to the images and beliefs people hold of the sea, and to encourage Finns to think about their relationship with the Baltic Sea. The Foundation will create a multimedia exhibition, launched on Baltic Sea Day, 27 August 2020, on the diverse memories of the Finns and their relationship with the Baltic Sea.

The John Nurminen Foundation collects maritime memories in Finnish, Swedish, and English, and memories can be shared as an image, as text, an audio recording, or a video. The goal of the project is to leave a permanent mark in the memory of the nation, and accrue our national cultural heritage.

”All Finns are people of the sea. The Baltic Sea is and has always been our pantry, our transportation route, and the umbilical cord that ties us to the rest of the world.  On our shores are museums, islands, sailing clubs and places to fish and spend your summer in, each upholding centuries-old marine traditions. We wish to investigate and explore this quotidian but at the same time extremely important relationship with the Sea”, says Annamari Arrakoski-Engardt, Secretary General of the John Nurminen Foundation.

The highlight of the Project will coincide with another one of John Nurminen Foundation’s societal efforts, the Baltic Sea Day, which is celebrated annually on the last Thursday of August with various experiences and events.

The exhibition, curated from the Finns’ Baltic Sea memories, will be launched on 27 August at Helsinki City Hall. Guests at the exhibition will experience a media installation, implemented on the basis of marine memories and brought to life through readings and interpretations by professional actors.  The installation will feature the photographs, videos, and audio messages sent by the Finns.

“In August, we will see how the sea we share appears to us in the form of an exhibition. Making people aware of the story and the history of the sea is important also because it helps us understand why the Baltic Sea, a sea that is one of its kind, must be protected”, says Arrakoski-Engardt.

The Foundation welcomes your memories also after the exhibition, as they can be used when building later exhibitions, books, or podcasts.

The John Nurminen Foundation collects marine memories in cooperation with Åbo Akademi, various museums, and other stakeholders. All memories for which assent has been granted will also be handed over to the archives of the Finnish Literature Society.

“Our memories, both everyday and festive, of the sea and what it is like to live with the sea are part of our priceless immaterial cultural heritage, which we must maintain and preserve also for future generations. It is great to see that the Sea of Memories project will combine resources from both research and culture in order to safeguard this heritage”, says Jaana Kouri, Research Associate in Åbo Akademi’s profile area The Sea.

The John Nurminen Foundation hopes to receive Baltic Sea memories from as a wide a selection of topics as possible. More information on the project and how to participate is available at the Foundation’s website: johnnurmisensaatio.fi/en/sea-of-memories/

More information:

Annamari Arrakoski-Engardt, Ph.D.
Secretary General
John Nurminen Foundation
Tel. +358 (0)400 477 878

Anni Kujala
Sea of Memories project, John Nurminen Foundation
+358 (0)50 467 6740

Baltic Sea Day
The Baltic Sea Day, launched by the John Nurminen Foundation, is an annual day of celebration in honour of the sea. The objective of the day is to encourage people to enjoy the unique sea that belongs to us all, and to take concrete actions that benefit the sea. In addition to the celebrations, the purpose of the Baltic Sea Day is to provide information on the versatile nature, culture, and history of the Sea. The Baltic Sea Day is celebrated every year on the last Thursday in August with various rallies and events. There are many ways for you to participate, so do join in! This year, the Baltic Sea Day celebrations will take place on 27 August 2020. balticseaday.fi

Memories of the sea, to the sea – online workshops for creative writing
In cooperation with Åbo Akademi, the John Nurminen Foundation will organise three online workshops for creative writing, supporting the sharing of memories. During the course, we will write and share memories, observations, and thoughts on the sea and what it is like to live with the sea. More information (in Finnish): https://johnnurmisensaatio.fi/etatyopajat/

John Nurminen Foundation – Baltic Sea protection and marine culture
Founded in 1992, the mission of the John Nurminen Foundation is to save the Baltic Sea and its heritage to future generations. The Foundation has been awarded for its work as a conveyor of culture and producer of marine content. The goal of the Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects is to improve the condition of the Baltic Sea with concrete measures that reduce the load and environmental risks faced by the sea. Our work is guided by measurable results and impact. johnnurmisensaatio.fi/en