Image: Sanni Saarinen

Kytköksissä / Причастность / Сonnected is a collaboration between artist Sanni Saarinen and the Finnish team of art mediators of Agents of Change: Mediating Minorities (MeM) project.


About the exhibition


Kytköksissä is a series of photographs that tell the stories of the Russian speakers living in Finland. People share their thoughts about the concept of home, safe place, identity, and their experiences of living in the spectrum of cultures. 


The project invites participants to think about important issues:


💭What is home? Is it a real or imagined place, experience, or landscape? Is it something concrete and permanent or something fleeting and ever-changing? What pleases and comforts them? Where do they feel safe, where is their place of strength?


The purpose of Kytköksissä is to question the “we” and “they” boundaries and try to break down stereotypes that prevent us from seeing diversity as a resource for society. It is not just the portraits of people but their personal stories. “We want to make sure the stories focus on personal memories, feelings, and experiences, not facts. Every story is important,” says artist Sanni Saarinen.


The project was supposed to culminate in an outdoor exhibition on 9-22.3.2022 in Helsinki, at Töölö bay, Linnunlauluntie (area between Villa Kivi and Helsinginkatu). There was also supposed to be an Infopoint at Helsinki Central Library Oodi 10-11.3 where the visitors could get all the information about the exhibition, as well as advice on the navigation around the area. However, Russian goverment’s military aggression against Ukraine forced the team to reconsider.


The war has completely changed the context of the project. Nevertheless, at this moment it feels crucial to say out loud that people make their choices individually, not collectively, and are also personally responsible for them. The message of diversity within the Russian-speaking community has become even more relevant in light of the current events.

The exhibition will open later in an online format and will be available at


Art mediators and their involvement


Art mediators were the jury that chose Sanni’s idea among other great artistic proposals. The participatory nature of the project and mediators’ involvement in all stages were among the selection criteria.  


Mediators and the artist have had multiple discussions about the nature of the project. They have been involved in all the stages of its implementation, from brainstorming the ideas to selecting the location for the upcoming exhibition. 


Mediators chose the participants for the project through passing «tokens» – printed letters that acted as an invitation and a symbolic confirmation of participation. Mediators could choose whether they wanted to hand it to a specific person or ask someone to pass it further, this way reaching out to a broader circle of people. 


What matters for the project is not only the portraits and stories but all the encounters on the way to them. It is up to the mediators to create a safe space for dialogue, a sense of belonging, and a discussion around the importance of diversity and inclusion. They also help participants make their stories heard.


Now, the mediators are preparing for a series of mediation that will take place both offline and online. 


Sanni Saarinen

Sanni Saarinen is a documentary photographer, visual artist, cultural anthropolgist, and writer based in Espoo, Finland. Sanni is interested in questions of identity, community, belonging, and passing of time. She works with societal projects and with more personal projects using auto-fictional elements.