Sivuvalo: A substantial network for writers in Finland

Sivuvalo: A substantial network for writers in Finland

Sivuvalo is a project that improves map and makes visible the position of poets and writers who write in non-dominant languages in Finland. With these words the team of Sivuvalo project in Caisa introduces the concept in their webpage. It’s an idea of gathering operational ideas and solutions, and promoting foreign writers in Finland who write in their own languages.

Sivuvalo ”aims for a conscious and inclusive society, that respects the human right for individuals to freely choose their language of communication and thus the right to use their own language in their literary work”. In fact, these thoughts are a set of solutions shared by different other partners of Sivuvalo in Finlands such as Caisa, StoaLukukeskusKultturia Kaikelle (Radiator) Magazine and  Lecti agency. 

Today afternoon , I visited the team of Sivuvalo in the project room, in Caisa, and shared a talk with the director Roxana Crisólogo and Daniel Malpica,  producer, poet and graphic designer working in the same project.

Roxana is a poet and cultural activist from Peru, based in Finland. In addition to her publication of poetry books, she has decided in 2012 to launch a multilingual literature project which actually has a continuation grant from Kone Foundation.

Read more about Roxana Crisólogo.

© Caisa - Roxana Crisólogo, founder and director of Sivuvalo
© Caisa – Roxana Crisólogo, founder and director of Sivuvalo

In response to a question concerning the beginning of the project, Roxana said when she came to Finland, she noticed that ”many professional artists have not the same opportunities to get grants, and also the advantages are frequently given to Finnish speaking writers”. That’s why she decided to create a shelter to include all writers regardless of their language.

” I thought to Sivuvalo as a network in Finland that hears from writers who don’t write in Finnish. However we still face two big serious problems in Sivuvalo, translation and recommendation. I mean how to find professional translators to translate into Finnish our writings, and a ”bank of readers”, which means Finns who could read in other languages then suggest manuscrits to Finnish publishers”, Roxana affirmed.

In the gallery, I met also Daniel Malpica, he was preparing an exhibition with the video artist Paola Figveroa. The event will start at Caisa on 5 November and last until the end of the month. As far as the program of the event, Daniel mentioned there will be poetry night club with ‘Translation’ as the main subject, and also an exhibition focused on international writing and its mutations.

During the multimedia poetry nights, there will be poets who read poems in six languages: Finnish, Swedish, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and English. Besides, there are five poets living in Finland are going to read their own poems in different languages: Hashim Matouq [Iraq-Turku], Veera Antsalo [Finland], Polina Kopylova [Russia-Helsinki], Heidi von Wright [Finland], Daniel Malpica [Mexico-Vantaa].
In addition, there will also be two special guests: Tomás Cohen, a Chilean painter and writer based in Hamburg, in Germany and Lalo Barrubia, an uruguayan poet based in Malmö, in Sweden.
As regards the literature and translation in the exhibition,  the Colombian film artist Paola Figueroa will introduce a video installation, and also the project includes audio-visual material from Sivuvalo project and SKTL’s archives.
© Sivuvalo - Daniel Malpica, producer, poet and graphic designer working for Sivuvalo project.
© Sivuvalo – Daniel Malpica, producer, poet and graphic designer working for Sivuvalo project.
Aa a substantial crossroad for poets and artists who don’t speak Finnish, Sivuvalo helps in the first place creators to get rid of some obstacles of getting grants and integrate into Finnish society. In other hand, it takes part of discussions with official authorities in Finland, to find ways how to help non-Finnish speaking artists and writers to build their professional life and projects regardless of language obstacle.
”When foreign artists come to Finland, they notice immediately that opportunities to get grants are not as easy to them as Finnish-speaking artists could get. This situation seriously prevents them to launch their own projects. Sivuvalo suggest ways how lead them to get this barrier through”, Daniel said.
As regards networking work, Sivuvalo organizes workshops, exhibitions, multimedia literary events and several other events. Moreover, it suggests for the Finnish literary institutions and cultural policy makers to realize that ”this is an issue of equality”.
”Sivuvalo promotes networkings, discussion panels, publications, spaces for poets where they can read their poetry and especially create bridges between local artists and foreign ones. We should now depend on what we have. But of course, we are always trying to give a professional image to what we do”, Daniel continued.
Daniel raised also concerns about issues related to some conditions how to get a grant. The official institutions that give grants require from the applicant to have at least two published books. Such kind of situation doesn’t always fit, especially when it comes to poets who come from conflict zones or countries where the war has burst out.
Daniel evoked also a case of Ye Yint, a Burmanian poet who came from Burma. The poet has no ways to publish a book in his country where tensions between Buddhist and Muslim ethnic groups flared into violent clashes.
”There are different political situations in the world. In some countries, there are even wars. Poets for example find difficulties to publish their books in their homeland and others have not any chance to do that. This also is a serious problem for foreigners who look for help”, Daniel explained.
© Caisa - Hamza Amarouche with the staff of Sivuvalo in Caisa.
© Caisa – Hamza Amarouche with the staff of Sivuvalo in Caisa.
At the end, Sivuvalo project is still working on best conditions to improve more and more its network. It gathers actually more than fifty (50) collaborators from different countries in the world, from Asia, Africa, America…etc, regardless of their racial or ethnic origins, their language, or their religious affiliation.
Such a creation could largely give help to Finland-based artists and writers who don’t speak Finnish. Moreover, the idea aims mainly at creating bridges between local and foreign writers. It’s a kind of cultural exchange, learning from each other and making life easy for thousands of creators who still live in Finland.
Good luck to the Sivuvalo.
For more information, please contact Roxana Crisólogo, director of Sivuvalo:
Visit the official page of Sivuvalo.
Hamza Amarouche

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