wiikkis ⎮ Riikka Wallin

Cultural management and concepts

The power of a picture (or two)

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"I heard that the referee is gay"

 

Yesterday at YLE 2, one of the Finnish public TV channels, there was what they called “GAY NIGHT”. It was a discussion about gay marriage and the right/possibility for gay couples to adopt children. I don’t own a TV so I had to wait until today to watch the show (for the next 30 days it can be seen here).

The discussion itself was everything you (well, I) expect from a discussion about the topic. God and the bible thrown around. Talking about being homosexual but not behaving like one being okay. Taking things to a legislative dimension without acknowledging that exactly that legislation is part of creating and keeping structures in society that in themselves are unequal and justify phobic behaviour on a personal level. I didn’t get anything new on the topic from that discussion, but as always I got angry and frustrated. And after that a thorough sadness filled me.

One thing about the discussion made me pleasantly surprised though. In the room Pertti Jarla, a comic artist whose works are published daily in the leading news paper in Finland, was drawing inspiration from the discussion and created two pieces which showed and took a stand against the absurdity of the level of conversation in the room. For me personally the picture was just so much more powerful than any of the comments made. It confirmed my belief and experience of absurdity while listening to that discussion. And it made it okay to laugh at a situation which is utmost serious. Laughter always works as a relief of tension, so you can get over anger, frustration, sadness, and then continue building something from there.


Click here to see the pictures Pertti Jarla created during the discussion.
Acrophobics gather. First guy’s sign: High buildings are unnatural. Second guy: “The Bible condemns high buildings”.

And here to see his comic strip from Helsingin Sanomat the same day.
First guy: “Don’t lie with a man as one lies with a woman”, second guy: “Indeed!” “That has to be done quite differently.”

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