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Artists' Association MUU » 9.4.-2.5.2010 Eva Linder
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9.4.-2.5.2010 Eva Linder

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FINNMARKEN 1-3 is a video documentary in three parts about the so called Finn-forests in Central and Northern Sweden.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Swedish King wanted to colonize the big unpopulated woodland areas in Sweden. At that time, Finland was part of the Swedish empire and the King convinced thousands of Finns to move to the previously uninhabited areas in Sweden (the Finn-forests). The Forest Finns got plenty of space for their farming and the Swedish King got more tax payers in return.

In some areas things went smoothly between the Finns and the Swedes (it’s even said that some Swedes started speaking Finnish) but in others the Swedes gave the Forest Finns a hard time. The Forest Finns had to live far away from the Swedish villages and they weren’t allowed to keep their Finnish names. Many Swedish farmers tried to drive the Forest Finns away.

The FINNMARKEN documentary project is also the story about FINNSAM, a contemporary organization of professional and amateur researchers who share a common interest in the Finn-forest. Many of the members of FINNSAM descend from Forest Finns and are very proud of their Finnish blood. In FINNMARKEN part 2 Eva Linder joins them for their 3-day-long annual spring meeting.

The third leg of the FINNMARKEN project is Linder’s personal connection to the Finn-forests. Her late grandfather was from Närsen, a tiny village in the Finn-forest in Dalarna. When he was in his seventies, he wrote a book about the hard life in the Finn-forests. This story, artist’s personal interest, is mixed with associations to similar contemporary movements. For example stories of how Swedish politicians nowaday try to get immigrants to move to the areas in the north.