Minna Henriksson: Works on Paper
Artist-in-Residence Minna Henriksson talks about her contribution to the group exhibition "Under Pressure - On Forms of Authority and Decision-Making Power" curated by Sabine Winkler at frei_raum Q21 exhibition space.
Minna Henriksson investigates both lobbying and political engagement around the Finnish paper industry and its trade with South Africa after the Second World War. The linocuts relate efforts by Finnish industrialists to counter the left-wing politicisation of their workers.
While left-wing unions opposed trade with the increasingly despotic apartheid regime, the association of Finnish paper manufacturers supported a continuation of trade. Finnish paper producers were major suppliers for the overwhelmingly white print industry of the apartheid regime. The Finnish government protected this trade by maintaining diplomatic relations with South Africa. It was only in 1985, when the transport workers’ union decided to stop the exchange of goods between the two countries that this trade ended amid a broad-based anti-apartheid movement, both domestic and international. This act of solidarity from the working class – a commitment that put the Finnish economy and political sphere under pressure to declare solidarity with black Africa – is often concealed. There are numerous examples of economic relationships with authoritarian governments or economic exploitation with authoritarian means from history and in the present day. The fear is that if authoritarian systems deliver larger profits in global competition, authoritarian capitalism will become standard.
Minna Henriksson was born in 1976 in Oulu/Finnland; she lives and works in Helsinki.