Jenni Viita // encounters in Tartto

The first encounter with the Estonian Print and Paper museum was during my exchange studies in Estonia last year. My friend lived in Tartu at that time and when I visited her, she brought me to the museum. I was impressed of what I sawthat when spotted the open call to the Tartu AiR knew that I had to apply. Since last year‘s visit in Tartu I have graduated as BA and started working on my own.  

My plan for a 1-month residency in Tartu was to focus mainly on Lithography. As usual the plans changed a little bit on the way! The weather changed them. I have never experienced such a warm May! Instead of having a bit unreliable but beautiful spring time, I was welcomed in Tartu with a full blast of the hottest summer weather. The waking nature and warm weather lured me into walking on the streets of Tartu, enjoying the green parks and seeing the adorable wooden buildings with all of the beautiful colorcombinations. The apartment, where I stayed during the Residency, was located basically next to the botanical garden. The waking and flourishing nature inspired me to compare it to Estonia itself. I was amazed to learn more about Estonia’s history and how, despite all, the people have kept their culture and identity!  It worked as the main theme for my Lithography piece, which was named “Kokemukset menneestä luovat tämän hetken“, roughly translated: The experiences of the past create this moment. 

My artistic approach is usually figurative, but as I was enjoying the surroundings of Tartu so much, it led me to draw tiny cityscapes of the streets of Tartu with ink. The short-term residency definitely opened my eyes for new directions to work on and I am looking forward to what comes next. The time in Tartu gave me a good diversion from everyday life and a fresh perspective to observe surroundings and draw inspiration from. 

I was happy about the possibility to work with Tartu Art College, as they also had the lithopress that I needed to work with.  It gave me the experience to meet more new people that had the same interests. I felt very welcomed thanks to the people of Tartu Art College and especially the friendly staff of Estonian Print and Paper museum and I wish my stay could have been longer. 

Thank you Tartu AiR, Finnish Institute and Tartu Kõrgem Kunstikool for making this happen! 

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