Maamme is a video installation in which non-native Finnish citizens sing the Finnish National Anthem. The work highlights the fact that Finland is a multicultural nation, and emphasizes that nationality is not an immutable concept etched in the bedrock of a country, but rather a malleable idea that is subject to change.

The people in the work were not born in Finland, and do not have Finnish heritage, but have – through relocation, immigration, adoption or other reasons – all been granted Finnish citizenship.

The multi-screen installation collects the various people together, forming a united choir out of the disparate parts. Together, they sing the words of their adopted nation’s anthem, highlighting their unified status as “new Finns”.

A single-screen version of the work has also been created and will be shown in Esplanadin Lava on Finnish Independence Day (Dec 6th).

An important consideration in the creation of the work is the fact that the lyrics to Finland’s national anthem were originally written in Swedish by Johan Ludvig Runeberg, and the music was written by German immigrant, Fredrik Pacius. The music and lyrics for the national anthem are also shared with Estonia and Livonia.

The anthem consists of eleven verses, three of which have been selected for this project:

Our land, our land, our Fatherland!
Ring out, dear word, oh sound!
No rising hill, or mountain grand,
No sloping dale, no northern strand,
There is, more loved, to be found,
Than this — our fathers’ ground. 

Our land is poor, and so shall be
To him who gold will crave.
The strangers proudly pass, but we
Shall ever love this land, we see,
In moor, and fell, and isle and wave,
A golden land, so brave. 

Thy blossom, hidden now from sight,
Shall burst its bud ere long.
Lo! from our love, shall rise aright,
Thy sun, thy hope, thy joy, thy light.
And higher, once, more full and strong,
Shall ring Our Country’s song.

The fact that something as emotionally powerful as Finland’s national anthem is composed and written by non-natively-born foreign nationals, is shared with other countries, and sung in multiple languages challenges the very notion of national identity, and is of profound significance in the contemporary political climate in Finland.

Maamme will premiere at the Finnish Museum of Photography on 23.11.2012, and will be exhibited until 6.1.2013. A single-screen version of the work will be shown in Esplanadin Lava, Heisinki on December 6th, 2012 (Finnish Independence Day).

Maamme / Vårt Land
six-screen synchronised hd video installation / single-screen video

directed and edited by
minna rainio & mark roberts

produced by
kristin helgaker