Sweet Song of Harlem: Portraits
Jaakko Heikkilä presented by WhiteBox
WhiteBox’s upcoming season honors NYC’s Harlem community. By emphasizing identity and daily life among marginalized communities, WhiteBox hopes to further the conversations of intersectionality that arise when gender and race move through political borders.
About the Artist:
Jaakko Heikkilä is a northern Finnish world traveler and photographer who became known as a depicter of minority peoples and groups living in the shadow of major cultures, capturing the essence of their identities and living environments. Heikkilä treats his Harlem theme with different shooting methods and angles, so that the end result is a multifaceted narrative whole. Throughout his international travels, Heikkilä has discovered that the problems of minorities are quite similar around the world. One of the most burning is the violation of human rights, which manifests itself in racism against ethnic origin, color, language or religion. In his Harlem series, Heikkilä attempts to capture the lives of African Americans in New York City, expressing them in his own, poetic way. He sees it as his calling to capture the stories of humanity and the richness of life through the medium of photography — to advocate for the right of every human being to prosper and to capture the richness of the diversity of the people of the world. His work has been exhibited internationally.
Twenty three years ago, the idea for WhiteBox as the original alternative art space in Manhattan’s Mid-town Chelsea neighborhood arose among a tightly knit local group of international artists, architects, and intellectuals armed with a radical and refined pluralistic and aesthetic sensibility. An asystematic art space open to debate and dialogue inspired by human and cultural history concerned with art taking the pulse of the times. WhiteBox aims to deliberate the present while orienting itself towards a future where through site-specific exhibitions, performances, screenings, readings, lectures, and panel discussions live and online, providing the public with a unique opportunity to experience an artist’s practice in radical, meaningful and evocative ways.