In the life of the Finnish-African Cultural Center the first four months of the year 2013 were full of collective waves of inspiration associated with a wide spread of great and positive intentions gathered from a burning desire for creativity. Arrivals and departures of residents started on a very good note in January: Timo Sipola (journalist), Liisa Väisänen (Ph.D) and her husband Marco Peretto (photographer), Risto Lindstedt (journalist) and his wife Päivi Lindstedt, Hannu Lindroos (photographer), Antti Sundberg (musician), Tuukka Vuorinen (musician), Aapo Halonen (musician) and Leena Eilittä (researcher) were those who happily crossed the boundary from year 2012 into 2013 in the premises of Villa Karo.
Among the lucky ones who spent the New Year in Grand-Popo was a group of Estonians led by Triin Toompuu who toured Ghana, Togo and Benin. With arrivals in January through to April, Villa Karo attracted also a lot of external collaborators with resident artists like Tytti Oittinen (film director), Ilpo Jauhiainen (soundscape artist), Dan Henriksson (play writer), Anna Retulainen (painter), Pirkko Kaartinen (writer) and her husband Reijo Mälkiä, Eri Shimatsuka (textile designer) and Nana Oforiatta-Ayim (writer, film maker).
Another event that enlivened the house was a two weeks workshop by ten African artists from Togo, Benin and Nigeria led by Godfrey Okorodus living in Belgium. Grand-Popo’s population is constantly in contact with Villa Karo through direct collaboration with local artists either via collective or personal projects like environmental education and arts in general.
Visitors from all walks of life animated Villa Karo’s activities. A surprise visit from a delegation of Finnish Embassy in Abuja, a group of German tourists, Spanish Architects and Journalist/Correspondent of RFI in Finland, just to mention a few, were welcomed to the center by three charming ladies, Sylvie (chief of programs), Georgette (collection manager) and Taru (CIMO-trainee) omnipresent at their respective posts.
Our weekly film projections and monthly concerts from January to April attracted, as always, young and old folks to the center. Lot of appreciation from the public is always expressed through comments traditionally relayed by school children who visit Villa Karo for various reasons especially just to comment on past events with some critiques related to artists’ performances etc.
To conclude, our beginning of the year has been extremely fruitful with a new mixture of commitments to the cultural world, thanks to artistic qualities of the residents like Dan Henriksson, Tytti Oittinen, Ilpo Jauhiainen and many others!
Kwassi D. AKPLADOKOU