Kirsi Syrlin

Kirsi Syrlin is a professional Finnish artist who has held exhibitions across Europe. 

Kirsi now resides in Espoo, Finland having returned from living in Belgium for several years. She has held exhibitions across Europe with more recent ones taking place in Finland, Italy, and Belgium. Her art can be seen in numerous private collections throughout Europe as well as closer to home in the City of Helsinki who have acquired her paintings for the Kivelä hospital. During her residency in Belgium, Kirsi held a solo exhibition at the Embassy of Finland in Brussels. Her time in Italy brought similar success which saw Kirsi’s pieces published in an Italian Artinside Magazine by curator Maddalena Grazzini. In addition, Kirsi was invited to participate in the Florence Biennale. Owing to this vast international exposure, Kirsi now has representation contacts with galleries in Italy as well as those further afield in the USA.

Reflecting on her reasoning for joining Art Meets Science, Kirsi shares her previous charity endeavours: “I have previously taken part in different charity auctions and projects and Art Meets Science sounded like a great opportunity to help the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy achieve their goal of sharing their research with the general public alongside raising funds for their professorship in sustainable pharmacy”. Kirsi continues, “the whole idea of combining art and science together is so inviting. They are so often compared as the opposite sides of the spectrum instead of powerful movements that could work best together”.

Looking ahead to the exhibition, Kirsi shares her excitement about seeing what the other collaborations have been working on together. Kirsi remarks “it is always so enchanting to see how the exhibition will look, how the light at the gallery moves around the pieces of art, and how the combination of different kinds of art pieces will create a unique moment for the opening evening. And of course, I am looking forward to meeting the other participants, the artists, scientists, & the audience in person”.

Kirsi has been collaborating with Dr Virpi Talman and Dr Qasim Majid of the Regenerative Cardiac Pharmacology group.

You can learn more about Kirsi and her work from her website and Instagram.

Gokhan Burhan

Gokhan Burhan is a Turkish-British artist residing in Finland. 

Gokhan is a visual artist and designer who creates collages, prints, and paintings with a focus on typography and abstraction. He has previously created typographic posters for election campaigns and charities.

When invited to participate in Art Meets Science, Gokhan was excited to use these techniques to showcase scientific research. Having experienced this first hand during this visit to the Talman lab, Gokhan enthused how “engaging and informative” an experience this was.

Gokhan has been collaborating with Dr Virpi Talman and Dr Qasim Majid of the Regenerative Cardiac Pharmacology group.

You can learn more about Gokhan and his work from his website and Instagram.

Hannele Rekola

Hannele Rekola is a laboratory nurse and artist. 

Hannele is originally from Rauma but now lives in Järvenpää where she works at Meilahti Pathology as a laboratory nurse. In her free time, Hannele practices pottery and draws a Kwaakku cartoon that is published in Kaupunkilehti Raumalainen. Owing to her artistic talents, Hannele belongs to the Järvenpää Art Society.

Reflecting on her participation in Art Meets Science, Hannele remarks how she was inspired by her good friend, Professor Marjo Yliperttula, a professor at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy, who informed Hannele of the project. Hannele continues “Marjo invited me to participate in the project and I immediately grew excited. Ideas started spinning in my head! My original idea of ​​ceramic vesicles was born and has since been transformed into a piece of art called ‘Connecting’. In this piece, vesicles play an important role in the pulsating umbilical cord that unites women”.

When asked about her experience thus far, Hannele shares how inspiring and necessary such a project is: “this joint project of science and art opens up huge new avenues to bring out the achievements of science through the eyes of art. It creates a third dimension that serves as a new kind of bridge for the viewer and an entry into the world of science that can sometimes be out of reach for the layman. Likewise, it acts as a reverse gateway to art, the opportunity to see things differently, through the eyes of art”.

Thinking ahead to the exhibition, Hannele is excited to see the reactions of people and the public alike towards this innovative and groundbreaking exhibition that combines science and art. Hannele remarks, “I very much hope that we will gain visibility and reach the audience and the media. In addition, I hope for interesting encounters with people, both those involved in the project and those coming to see the exhibition”.

You can learn more about Hannele and her work from her website and Instagram.

Petra Kaminen Mosher

Petra Kaminen Mosher is a Finnish-American artist living and working in Oulu, Finland.   

Originally from New York City, Petra received her art degree from Boston University prior to moving to Finland where she works as a full-time visual and textile artist, and portrait painter.   

When asked to specify what inspired her to join Art Meets Science, Petra shared how she has “always had a general interest in science and scientific development, particularly in medical innovation. Various scientific fields have inspired my work throughout my career, such as biology, botany, and pathology. I feel that the appreciation and understanding of scientific endeavours should be fostered and encouraged in the general public, and science collaborating with the arts is a stimulating and productive way to achieve that goal”.  

Petra has been collaborating with her long-term friend,  Prof. Marjo Yliperttula, Professor of Biopharmaceutics at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy. Reflecting on this experience, Petra says “ It has been a continuous rumination on the interconnectedness of the natural world and the evolution of medicine.” 

Thinking ahead to the exhibition, Petra is looking forward to experiencing how the scientific impact of medical innovation is rendered into emotive visual media. 

You can learn more about Petra and her work from her website and Instagram.

Emrecan Tanış

Emrecan Tanış is a Turkish choreographer based in Finland and a dancer with the Finnish National Ballet.

One of his latest creations, ‘Rise’ premiered at the Hannover Staatstheater in an evening that comprised the legendary choreographers Hans van Manen and Marco Goecke. In addition, he has created several pieces for the Stuttgart Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, and Finnish National Ballet School.

As a physical artist, Emrecan provides a unique perspective on his participation in Art Meets Science: “As a choreographer, I strive for new challenges. The idea of depicting complex scientific research through the abstract movement of dancers is one that greatly excited me.”. 

Reflecting on his collaboration thus far, Emrecan remarks “it has been great! Our collaboration is unique in that I am working with another artist, Sasha Stepanova who is designing pieces for the dancers in my piece, as well as two scientists from the University of Helsinki’s Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology group – Prof. Timo Laaksonen and Dr Tatu Lajunen”. 

Emrecan continues “our performance will be presented during the opening evening of Art Meets Science so I am very excited to see how a diverse audience interprets the piece and takes away a unique element from the experience. I am also looking forward to meeting the other members of my collaboration in person”.

You can learn more about Emrecan and his work from his website and Instagram.

Aleksandra (Sasha) Stepanova

Aleksandra (Sasha) Stepanova is a designer and professional dancer from Russia.  

With an educational background in biophysics, Sasha states that Art Meets Science played nicely to these two important aspects of her life. For her, “science is art and art is science”.  

Through her participation in Art Meets Science, Sasha hopes that individuals can see the true meaning and importance of both of these fields. Fields that she believes all parts of the world should be investing in.  

Sasha is utilising these two unique skills sets and collaborating with Prof. Timo Laaksonen and Dr Tatu Lajunen from the pharmaceutical nanotechnology group to create costumes inspired by the light-activated drug release research conducted within their group. 

You can learn more about Sasha and her designer label from her website and Instagram

Tiina Poutanen

Tiina Poutanen is a Tampere-based visual artist and writer.  

Tiina is a fan of science and joined Art Meets Science to see how science and art can interact with one another. Tiina has been collaborating with the Transporter group led by Prof. Heidi Kidron at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy.  

Reflecting on her experience thus far, Tiina recalls her visit to the Kidron lab and seeing how cells are cultured. 

Thinking ahead to the exhibition, Tiina is looking forward to seeing how other artists have combined their unique artistic skillset with the equally unique science undertaken within their respective collaborations.  

You can read more about Tiina on her website and Instagram.  

Eva Adán

Eva Adán is a Spanish Fine Artist based in Finland who is passionate about drawing, painting, philosophising, and spending time in nature. 

As a fine artist, Eva utilises a range of traditional techniques including, watercolours, gouache, graphite, and ink to create her pieces. In addition, Eva partakes in illustrations and designs that necessitate digital tools. At present, Eva is developing two parallel projects, ‘Eva Adan Arts’ and ‘Eva Adan designs’ whilst also sharing her years of experience with students as a teacher of drawing and painting.  

Recalling her rationale for joining Art Meets Science, Eva shares: “I have always been passionate about natural sciences, physics, chemistry, and philosophy. My mind is filled with multi-disciplinary curiosity always directed to the investigation of our own nature and consciousness. I graduated from the Complutense University of Madrid with a double specialty (Fine Arts, Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in which I studied some scientific subjects), and also have a Master’s degree in Visual Art Education”.

Eva states that Art Meets Science was the perfect project to join as it coupled her artistic career with her longstanding love for neuroscience. She explains “I have always had a passion for neuroscience and everything to do with the brain and the mind. Therefore, it was an honour to visit the Voutilainen lab and see the neuroscience research they conduct. For years I have practiced meditation according to some Buddhist traditions and also under the guidance of the neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris. So, when I was given the choice of working with different research teams, I immediately chose the neuroscience team. During the visit to the laboratory, I was inspired by the research team itself, the instruments and methods they use, the mice, and the diseases they study. Throughout the creative process, my vision deepened, and I wanted to bring to life a piece full of colour, shapes, and light that would serve as a preventive self-therapy, transforming stress and emotions into something beautiful and in turn evoking the mysteries of the universe and human consciousness. 

Thinking ahead to the exhibition, Eva is hoping to “live the experience of participating in a collective exhibition and meeting the other participants in person. I also hope that we are able to engage with the general public and show that the sciences and the arts can and should be united in order to have a full understanding and a holistic vision of what it means to be a human”. 

You can read more about Eva’s other work on her website and Instagram.

Lena Blankenstein-Holmström

Lena Blankenstein-Holmström is a self-taught mixed media and alcohol ink artist living in Turku. 

Having worked on ships for 40 years, Lena is using retirement to explore interesting new opportunities to gain fresh inspiration and perspective for her art. Reflecting on her participation in Art Meets Science, Lena recalls “the project seemed so interesting and was a completely new area for me to explore as I didn’t know much about scientific research before Art Meets Science. The whole project has been really positive, and the highlight was visiting the Voutilainen lab at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy where I was able to talk with scientists from the lab and learn so much about their neuroscience research”.  

Thinking ahead to the exhibition, Lena is excited to meet the other participating members of Art Meets Science in person.  

You can read more about Lena’s other work on her website and Instagram.

Anna Stankevich

Anna Stankevich is a Polish illustrator and visual artist. Having lived in the United Kingdom, Anna moved to Finland where she practices as a self-employed artist.  

Through Art Meets Science, Anna has been collaborating with Manlio Fusciello, a PhD candidate from Prof. Vincenzo Cerullo’s Lab focusing on viral immunotherapies to treat diseases such as cancer.  

Anna shares her thoughts on the collaboration and participation in Art Meets Science thus far: “I was invited to join the project and was excited to do so as this was an interesting opportunity through which I have learnt a lot of fascinating things about viruses and their potential role in the treatment of cancer. It has also been great to work on a collaborative project and to try and incorporate scientific ideas with symbolism in my artwork”.  

Thinking ahead to the exhibition, Anna is curious to see the pieces of art created through the other collaborations and to partake in a group show such as this.  

You can read more about Anna’s other work on her website and Instagram

Okko Alitalo

Okko Alitalo is the second of two artists participating in Art Meets Science who is also a research scientist.  

Okko is a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Pharmacy where he is conducting research into antidepressant therapies. Alongside his research activities, Okko is a keen artist and shares his reasoning for joining Art Meets Science: “I am interested in science communication, and making science more approachable through art is a great way to achieve this. Science is more than just numbers and statistics; coming up with new ideas and planning experiments requires as much creativity as creating art. Similarly, both science and art require consecutive rounds of iteration and experimentation”.

Through his participation in Art Meets Science, Okko has not only created a piece by which he can share his research, but he has also acquired an array of new techniques and learnt a great deal about himself in the process. Okko goes on to explain “I’ve been working on this project for almost a year now, almost daily since summer 2021, so I’m excited to present this to the public and share with my family and friends why I haven’t had a life in a long time! During that time however, I have learnt a lot about the physical properties of various materials and used a number of fancy tools including the largest laser I could find in Helsinki to engrave the acrylic in my piece. In addition to this, I used a light-absorbing resin from a Japanese optics company that absorbs 99.4% of visible light to paint the black neurons in my piece. More recently, I have milled the frame for the piece from Finnish pine which has been equally cool!”.

Thinking ahead to the exhibition, Okko reflects on his previous exhibition, “Okkoltism & Dark Arts”, a Perttu Häkkinen Foundation-supported tour that was cut short due to the onset of the pandemic. With that in mind, Okko states that he is “looking forward to exhibiting his work again and sharing it with the public.”  

You can read more about Okko’s work on his website and Instagram.  

Lotta Sirén

Lotta Sirén is an economist turned self-taught professional abstract artist from Espoo.  

Lotta paints full-time from her studio in Siuntio and shares her rationale for joining Art Meets Science: “I always like to try new things and this project sounded interesting. I rarely say no to such exciting opportunities. Given I am an economist by background and now work as an artist, I am used to working across faculties”. Due to the ongoing pandemic in addition to maternity leave, Lotta is yet to visit the lab however, she has kept up to speed with her collaboration with Dr Shiqi Wang via Zoom. Thinking ahead to the exhibition, Lotta states “I am looking forward to seeing the results of the other collaborations and the exhibition itself! There will be lots of different forms of art side by side and it’ll be nice to see what kind of inspiration each research project has generated in artists”.   

You can read more about Lotta’s work on her website and Instagram.

Leena Salmio

Leena Salmio is a liaison manager at the University of Helsinki and an avid artist.  

Having undertaken art from an early age, Leena began her visual studies at the Helsinki Art School for children and youth where she developed a penchant for painting. Subsequent studies in Design (BA) and a Master of Arts and cultural management steered Leena towards other mediums including ceramics which she has utilised for the design of tableware and pieces of art. Through Art Meets Science, Leena looks to return to her childhood passion of painting.  

Leena goes on to explain “I feel that Art Meets Science enables the sharing of researched knowledge through the medium of art. Art brings the diversity and interesting content of science into a new and maybe more understandable form, even for those who are not professionals in the field of science. It also allows the possibility to see the work of a researcher and to increase understanding of the research that is done at the University of Helsinki for the benefit of our society. The challenge of showcasing this research through my art as a visual artist is very exciting”. 

During Art Meets Science, Leena has collaborated with Dr Teemu Tomberg, a postdoctoral researcher working on a qCSI project within the Faculty of Pharmacy. Here she has gained insight into the world of coherent Raman microscope. She mentions that “seeing the collaborations develop between several research groups and artists has been a very educational journey. With Teemu, I have learnt a lot about how in science, much like in the visual arts, light and colour play important roles. For Teemu, choosing the correct laser light settings is imperative to the resultant image acquired by the microscope. Similarly, visual artists must utilise light differently to either emphasise or blur the balance of light and shadow in a painting. With that in mind, it’s nice to think that we both utilise light to create new worlds, one under the microscope, and one on canvas’.  

Thinking ahead to the exhibition itself, Leena expects a number of surprises and is excited to see it in its entirety. She explains “I am excited to see how other researchers and artists have found a common path and how this exhibition, put together by the Faculty of Pharmacy and a multicultural group of artists, will be presented to the general public. I hope as many people as possible will come and see what art and science can bring to our communities’

You can read more about Leena’s work on her website and Instagram.

Polina Ilina

Polina Ilina is one of two artists participating in Art Meets Science who is also a research scientist.  

Polina was born in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, where she grew up and obtained a master’s degree in Biology. In 2007, she moved to Finland where she undertook a PhD and has since been conducting research in the field of drug discovery.

Polina mentions that there have been many occasions in her working life where she has found herself sitting in front of the microscope or going through images and being taken aback by the beauty of biological objects, such as cells, intracellular structures, or tissue sections. While attempting to discover new antibacterial compounds, she learned many exciting things about bacteria which she describes as “the tiny creatures, which can be our best friends, as well as our worst enemies. Despite their apparent simplicity, bacteria can move, build communities, and even talk to one another!”. Polina believes Art Meets Science is an excellent opportunity to share her excitement about the microworld with people outside of the research community. She adds, “It is also a rare chance to combine my professional life (scientific research) with my beloved hobby (drawing).” 

Polina is a member of Professor Päivi Tammela’s bioactivity screening group. You can learn more about Polina, and her research from the group’s website, Instagram, and her personal Instagram.  

Marianne Valonlehto

Marianne Valonlehto is a visual artist and a photographer from Finland.

She expressed her delight in participating in Art Meets Science: “Firstly, I would like to say that I am incredibly pleased to be part of this important project. In this time of fake news and false information, it is so important to have projects and collaborations like this. This project has been an amazing opportunity to understand more about scientific research and to also understand different aspects of research projects. I was very pleased to get to know Polina and Karmen of the bioactivity-screening group and to hear about their interesting nature-related research projects. Nature brought us together. It was a great coincidence that they have also been focused on nature.” 

Marianne continues “it was fascinating to hear insights about antiviral compounds from chaga mushrooms and antimicrobial yarn from willow. It is so precious to have research and studies about our nature given all the potential that it has. Healing powers of nature!” 

When it comes to her art, Marianne aims to remind people about nature: “By `nature´, I mean our beautiful forests and wildlife, but also (our) nature, the true inner essences in us. The essence of being alive – the essence of our own nature.” With respect to the latter, she found it remarkably interesting to incorporate chaga mushrooms into her painting process. The emerging painting, “Whisper of Nature” is 100 cm x 108 cm and will be displayed at the Art Meets Science exhibition.  

In reference to the exhibition, Marianne shares her excitement: “I am really looking forward to seeing all the artwork and meeting all the people who have been part of this project. We all agree that the exhibition will be a great celebration and ending for this project and it will be so nice to finally meet all the people face to face!” 

You can read more about Marianne’s work on her website and Instagram 

Özgü Gündeşlioğlu

Özgü Gündeşlioğlu is a Turkish ceramic artist-researcher who is based in Helsinki.

She focuses on experimental, process-based, collaborative, and improvised practices pertaining to ceramics. In addition to her artistic and academic works, she also gives private ceramic lessons. 

When asked to share her reasons for joining the project, Ozgu remarked “I believe that there is no hierarchy between tacit or codified knowledge. In order to create an interface between today’s divided institutes we just need to focus on the process rather than the outcome itself.”  

Özgü has collaborated with Professor Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma and Dr Paula Kiuru from the Medicinal Chemistry laboratory of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Division and shares the following about her experience thus far: “Just like scientists experiment with different substances to produce viable products; I as an artist test alternative materials to achieve the right coating for my ceramics with respect to texture or colour. In this project, I wanted to unravel how the process of both artistic and scientific research have similarities. For this reason, I performed dozens of ceramic glaze experiments with materials that are regularly used in the lab such as silica, TLC paper, and disposable glass tubes.”  

You can read more about Özgü’s work on her website and on her Instagram 

Marina Zitting

Marina Zitting is a visual artist from Helsinki.

She utilises an array of techniques including oil and watercolours for her paintings, or charcoal and pastels for her drawings.  In addition to creating her own art, Marina actively teaches art to members of the community.  

Marina has created “After the storm”, a striking oil painting inspired by her collaboration with Professor Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma and Dr Paula Kiuru from the Medicinal Chemistry lab at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy. Aside from creating this piece, Marina notes that Art Meets Science has been an interesting project to be involved in as it has allowed her to hear the views of the other participating members.  

You can read more about Marina’s work on her website and on her Instagram. 

Shannon Amey

Shannon is a Canadian/Irish artist living in Finland.

She is a full-time professional artist and works out of her studio in Rauma, Finland. Her artwork is collected and exhibited internationally as she is both self-represented and gallery represented. Her work is available by commission appointments at this time.

She says that creating art is where she feels most like herself: “In making art I transition to a deep place inside that is both energising and calming. I connect to my most authentic self when I can create and make art without boundaries. My artwork is both intuitive and emotive. My paintings are translations of memories and experiences into abstract expressions.” 

She was very intrigued by the project and its innovative and collaborative nature. For her, this sounded like an exciting project to participate in: “I am always interested in participating in projects that are based here in Finland where I live.  My experience so far has been wonderful. It is very exciting to be a part of such  a diverse group of practicing artists. The specific research team (Airavaara lab) I have worked with has been very welcoming and generous in providing information and visual content. The presentations of the various researchers have been the catalyst in creating my painting for this show.” 

She is looking forward to learning more about the other collaborations between artists and researchers as well as seeing the pieces of art in the exhibition.   

For Art Meets Science, Shannon has created ‘Uncharted Territory‘.

You can read more about Shannon’s other work on her website and on her Instagram.