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Artist and research residents

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Years of activity

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Resident rooms

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Interns

What is

Villa Karo’s purpose and function

Since the year 2000

Villa Karo aims to build a bridge between Finnish and African artists, researchers and cultural figures. Primarily our job is to offer Finnish artists and researchers and other cultural and societal figures living in Finland an opportunity to do a residency in Africa.

Villa Karo was founded by writer Juha Vakkuri (1946-2019), who over the years acted as an executive director, chairperson as well as Benin’s honorary consul.

Villa Karo is located in Grand-Popo, Benin. Benin is a friendly country, where the strong local culture has lasted better than in many other countries. Grand-Popo is a calm fishing village, which guarantees the visitors a peaceful work life and inspiring milieu.

In addition to the residency, Villa Karo is a Finnish-African cultural and research center, which provides free cultural services to the local inhabitants as well as work spaces to multidisciplinary artists and researchers.

https://villakaro.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/LOGOT-nettisivuille-e1672746776513-600x115.jpg

The activities of the cultural center include concerts, theatre and dance performances, movie screenings in the outdoor movie theatre, meeting and seminar spaces, a library and two museums as well as art, environment and language workshops.

Villa Karo’s operation is supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture and Svenska Kulturfonden.

Villa Karo’s board of directors:

Maria Björnberg, chair

Janne Halonen
Jaana-Mirjam Mustavuori
Axel Sointu
Kivi Vakkuri
Alexis Yamajako

Jouko Koskinen, vice member
Katariina Timonen, vice member

Web page’s banner photos: Sampo Kiviniemi (2018-2020).

WHY BECOME

A member of Villa Karo?

Responsibility

Villa Karo's operation goes through fourfold bookkeeping, and auditors work in both countries. Membership fees go toward the well-being of the Beninese staff. 

Health Insurance

Villa Karo’s staff and families in Benin are covered by the health insurance. Health insurance is supported through the membership fees.

Akpé

All members are sent a high quality cultural journal Akpé, with texts in both Finnish and Swedish.

Member trips

Villa Karo organises trips to Benin for its members. Customised trips with excursions are organised with the participants' wishes.

Shipments to Benin

We deliver our member’s shipments to Benin with certain restrictions.

Updated Travel Instructions

The visa for Benin is done online on Benin’s immigration service site. We offer members detailed help with their visa and other requirements.

Villa Karo's

Staff

JULIA OJANEN
JULIA OJANEN
JULIA OJANEN

Executive director

Richard Tandjoma; palmupuu takana, värikäs paita päällä.
Richard Tandjoma; palmupuu takana, värikäs paita päällä.
RICHARD TANDJOMA

Director of the centre and residency

JAAKKO HEIKINHEIMO
JAAKKO HEIKINHEIMO
JAAKKO HEIKINHEIMO

Communication coordinator, curator

WILFRIED ASSOU BADA
WILFRIED ASSOU BADA
WILFRIED ASSOU BADA

Bookkeeper

Georgette Singbe; vaalea puku päällä ja värikäs päähine päässä. Kaulakoru kaulassa.
Georgette Singbe; vaalea puku päällä ja värikäs päähine päässä. Kaulakoru kaulassa.
GEORGETTE SINGBE

Cultural Manager

EMONIE AYIWE
EMONIE AYIWE
EMONIE AYIWE

Residence coordinator

GÉRARD NASSIKINHAN
GÉRARD NASSIKINHAN
GÉRARD NASSIKINHAN

Technical manager

SERGE AGBELESSESSI
SERGE AGBELESSESSI
SERGE AGBELESSESSI

Logistic coordinator

Yvette Odjo; vaalea paita, Yvette hymyilee ja tausta on vihreä.
Yvette Odjo; vaalea paita, Yvette hymyilee ja tausta on vihreä.
YVETTE ODJO

Chef

Joachim Odjo; Joachim hymyilee ja katsoo alas.
Joachim Odjo; Joachim hymyilee ja katsoo alas.
JOACHIM CODJO

Maintenance Agent

Boubé Amadou; kädet ristissä kuvan edessä. Käsien takana näkyy Boube.
Boubé Amadou; kädet ristissä kuvan edessä. Käsien takana näkyy Boube.
BOUBÉ AMADOU

Guard

Papa Adanou; Papa katsoo kameraan lippis päässä ja hymyilee.
Papa Adanou; Papa katsoo kameraan lippis päässä ja hymyilee.
PAPA ADANOU

Gardener

Edoh Amoussou; Edohilla on punainen paita ja kädessä puinen pitkä esine.
Edoh Amoussou; Edohilla on punainen paita ja kädessä puinen pitkä esine.
EDOH AMOUSSOU

Gardener

Agathe Béni; Agathe kantaa sylissään lasta, jolla on valkoinen asu. Yvettellä on päällä värikäs mekko ja päähine.
Agathe Béni; Agathe kantaa sylissään lasta, jolla on valkoinen asu. Yvettellä on päällä värikäs mekko ja päähine.
AGATHE BÉNI

Cleaner

Marthe Tossou; Marthe hymyilee.
Marthe Tossou; Marthe hymyilee.
MARTHE TOSSOU

Cleaner

CLARISSE AFIAVI LOKO
CLARISSE AFIAVI LOKO
CLARISSE AFIAVI LOKO

Cleaner (laboratory)

Part time & temporary
Kezia Kautto; vaalea tausta ja musta olkapaita päällä, ja kultainen koru kaulassa.
Kezia Kautto; vaalea tausta ja musta olkapaita päällä, ja kultainen koru kaulassa.
KEZIA KAUTTO

Office assistant

KIIRA PARIKKA
KIIRA PARIKKA
KIIRA PARIKKA

Intern (Benin)

KOUASSI KOUTON
KOUASSI KOUTON
KOUASSI KOUTON

Chef (weekends)

RALYATTOU CHABLIS
RALYATTOU CHABLIS
RALYATTOU CHABLIS

Intern (Benin)

MOONA HARTMAN
MOONA HARTMAN
MOONA HARTMAN

Intern (Benin)

In Memoriam

Juha Vakkuri (1946-2019)

In 2000, Juha Vakkuri established Villa Karo so that that Finnish artists and cultural professionals could work in an African environment, in collaboration with locals. Africa was part of Juha’s life throughout his adulthood, he worked for the UN in Zambia and the US, and he travelled around Africa. He wanted to open the gates of the sunny continent for Finland, which saw Africa as an unknown even scary place. Villa Karo was named after Karo Vakkuri, Juha’s 15-year old late son.

Juha was not only a writer and journalist but also a visionary and realiser of large projects. Juha’s accomplishments are also recognised on a national level, as he was named Benin’s honorary consul in 2012. Above all, in Grand-Popo Juha was seen as a father figure, who could be trusted and relied up on. Juha’s death in 2019 was as if a large tree had fallen and left behind a large empty hole. Juha, with his work, had already planted many a tree which continue to grow after his departure.

Juha Vakkuri, rintakuva, taustalla seinään kirjoitettua ranskankielistä tekstiä. Kuva: Jyri Pitkänen (2015)
Picture: Jyri Pitkänen (2015)