Nina Korhonen

Anna Amerikan Mummu

Storgata 95

28. March 2009 - 3. May 2009

Mari Hildung

“Nina Korhonens exhibition is a story about her grandmother Anna who alone emigrated to U.S.A in 1959. She was 40 years old, had just lost her job, and it was bad times in Finland. It was now time to make real the childhood dream of the ”Wonderland” America.

More than 30 years later the photographer follows her grandmothers everydaylife during a period of seven years. The photographs are close to everydaylife, sensual and warm- with lot of humour. The exhibition is a tribute to an elderly woman who seeked a different life and found it. Anna got 40 years in America before she died. The book Anna, Amerikan mummu won the prize ”The Best Photobook 2004” in Sweden.

Later in life Anna remembered with enthusiasm the decisive moment when her husband Kalle exclamed ” My darling love, now it is your turn to experience the world!” The journey to America had been Anna´s big dream since she was eight years old and promised to follow her aunt to the great”Wonderland”. It wasn´t to be that time, but the dream had been planted in fertile soil, to awaken several decades later in full bloom when Anna was informed that she was too old to continue working in the textile factory. Anna was 40 years then and it was a bad time in Finland and impossible to find a new job.

My darling love, now it is your turn to experience the world!

Kalle for his part had travelled as the chief engineer to all the great ports of the world. The seafarer now thought that it was his turn to step ashore and stay at home.” That I actually made it to America”, Anna was careful to say later, ”was a gift from Kalle”.

In spring 1959 Anna realised her life´s dream and alone, with a couple of hundred dollars and no special skills in the English language, she took the airplane to New York. Anna got a job as a cook in a wealthy American family in upper Manhattan and was taken in as a working member of the family. Anna loved New York and with her savings that had grown year by year she bought a three room apartment by Sunset Park in Brooklyn. It was here in Finntown, Brooklyn Anna lived with other Finnish emigrants.

Anna flew to Tampere, Finland, every summer and Kalle flew to her in New York every winter. In between times, they wrote to each other and kept their love alive, for ”love has no borders” as Anna clearly declared to all curious family members.

Nina Korhonen