Jenni Toivonen (FI, b. 1993) is a Finnish photographer and visual artist whose projects investigate identity, memory and the interconnectedness of humans and nature. She is currently finishing her MA in Fine Art Photography at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and holds a BA in Photojournalism from the University of Tampere. Toivonen also studied photography and audiovisual communication in Buenos Aires (UNQ).
The 2021 project Are We There investigates migration, memory and the connection between humans and nature. In 1929, a group of Finns set out to Brazil to build a utopian community in the tropics. Toivonen’s great grandparents and their children were among these migrants, whose mission was to live in harmony with nature and to lead a life based on vegetarianism.
Are We There reflects the histories of today’s world, as well as exploring the concept of utopia and the longing for something distant as a catalyst for human action. Archival photos merge with light leaks on film, alluding to the material origin of a photograph and to the constructed and illusory nature of representations. At the core of the work lies a performative journey to the old village, where Toivonen tries to build a connection with the past by reimagining and reconstructing it. Through rituals that immerse the human body in its environment, she explores the questions of origin, belonging and coexistence.