[] 4.5.2018 The Official Portrait of the President Sauli Niinistö published

I was invited to participate to the making of the official Portrait of the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, together with 100 young artists from Finland.
The portrait was published the 4th of May 2018 and will be exhibited to public in the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki during June 2018. 


For my piece, I decided to photograph a young Afgan asylum seeker Sadiq Bahrooz and use his right cheek for the portrait. I had just met Sadiq and at the time of the picture, during summer of 2017, it was still unsure if Sadiq could stay in Finland, as he had received two negative decisions from the migration office. His dream of finding a safe place in Finland to start over his life after a long journey was close to failing. This was a person who had learned Finnish, found a job and a place to study, had made friends and was helping in his free time other asylum seekers to adjust to Finland. I was taken by his efforts and still could not help him. Some of the xenophobic reactions towards the asylum seekers coming to Finland and Europe made me tremble.

So I wanted to include his picture to the Official Portrait of Sauli Niinistö, as a reminder that Finland should be open to everyone, and we should work towards a
multicultural and tolerant country. It may sound like an utopia, but a rich country like Finland, can afford it. I now live temporarily in Singapore, and what amazes me the
most is the beauty of religions and cultures living every day life together with respect for each other. 






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