Terhi Hakola is a Finland-born artist based in Sydney. She holds a Master of Art from UNSW Art and Design and a degree in medicine from the University of Kuopio, Finland. She has practiced as a GP for 20 years in Finland and Australia.
As a medical practitioner Hakola has witnessed life at the ordinary and at the extremes – of death, pain and fear; of hope and birth. The human experience that captivated her as a doctor - the desire to uncover what defines and gives meaning to our day-to-day existence - also fuels and motivates her art. Recurring themes in her work exgage in our sense of identity and belonging, or the experience of impermanence and mortality.
Using primal symbols, traditional story-telling and Scandinavian mythology, Hakola works with installation, video, animation and painting. She plays with the tensions between the mundane and the extraordinary, the known and the ineffable, the familiar and the terrifying. Her deliberately emotional and melancholic work creates a questioning and shifting landscape which can leave onlookers exhilarated and repelled in the same moment. For Hakola the creative process - going through the unknown and doubt - is an important rite of passage, which mirrors the whole of life’s experience with its potential for transformation. Her central quest is to develop work which reflects the shared human experience and creates a place for connection and possibility.