Minna Valjakka, University of Helsinki "Shades of Green: Environmentally Engaged Art in East and Southeast Asia"

Helsinki University Humanities Programme, Helsinki Environmental Humanities Forum, March 16, 2021 (Tuesday), at 14.00- 15.30 (Helsinki time) via ZOOM

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Amidst rising environmentalism in the 20 th century, artists and artivists from varying disciplinary approaches have joined their forces both to investigate and to articulate the prevailing environmental issues. While such concerns are ever more poignant and contemporary art can provide new methods for interdisciplinary knowledge exchange, the fascination to multi-layered human-nature interrelations has prolonged and rich historical trajectories in arts. From traditional landscape paintings to emergent sound art and from ecological studies to imaginary virtual worlds, the artists have provided insights to human–non-human co-existence and its fragility across East and Southeast Asia. Based on the on-going interdisciplinary research project, this talk introduces what could be understood as the art historical origins of ‘environmentally engaged art’ and its main tendencies in the region. Through selected examples including both pioneering and emerging artists, I will delineate the main tendencies, approaches and categories of the art practices. How environmentally engaged artists engage with local practices and knowledge and how they with multidisciplinary collaborations translate these practices into translocal strategies and international discourses.


Minna Valjakka is Senior Lecturer of Art History in the University of Helsinki. She also holds Title of Docent in Art History and Asian Studies (Helsinki) and in East Asian Studies, specifically Urban Studies (Turku). In her interdisciplinary research project, Shades of Green (funded by the Academy of Finland, 2020-24), Minna focuses on artistic and creative practices at the nexus of environmental issues, translocal mediations, and transformations in arts and cultural policies. Her recent publications include journal articles in, among others, City, Culture and Society; Cultural Studies; and Urban Design International. Besides contributing to edited volumes and museum catalogues, she has also co-edited special issues and books, such as the award-winning Enemmän kuin puoli taivasta (Art House 2016), and Visual Arts, Representations, and Interventions in Contemporary China: Urbanized Interface (AUP, 2018). Minna lives and works in between Finland and East and Southeast Asia.

Minna Valjakka's Website

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Meeting ID: 659 9793 6146

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