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Finnish artists present a visual feast

The Finnish Invasion is upon us. And visual artists are leading the charge.

Just in time for this weekend’s FinnFest activities, a new art installation by Finnish artist Kaarina Kaikkonen will greet travelers in the lobby of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery will open the first American solo exhibition for the Finnish video artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila. And Pia Lindman, an environmental art professor at Aalto University in Helsinki, will perform a new piece at 6 p.m. Sunday in Kleinhans Music Hall with the music ensemble Wooden Cities.

Kaikkonen’s installation, “We Share a Dream,” is made of thousands of shirts donated by Western New Yorkers and sewn together with the help of volunteers. It was officially unveiled Wednesday afternoon above the airport’s ticketing counters, where it will remain at least through next spring.

“Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Ecologies of Drama,” opening Saturday in the Albright-Knox (1285 Elmwood Ave.), presents the work of the respected video artist whose work, according to a release, explores “what it means to be human, to experience transcendence as well as frailty, to be awed by nature, and to reason with loss.”

And Lindman’s performance piece in Kleinhans, “A Kalevala Duo, Playing Bones,” turns the ancient Finnish practice of bone-setting into a kind of musical performance based on a 2000-year-old epic poem. Lindman holds the amazing title of Professor of Beings and Things and Head of Biofilia at Aatlo University.

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– Colin Dabkowski

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