Meri Helmi Särkkä - Visual Artist
Meri Helmi Särkkä directly translates to 'Sea pearl from a salt water island' It is another way to say 'Bahrain' in Finnish.
Meri Helmi Särkkä (Formerly knows as Mariam Haji) is a Bahraini multi-disciplinary fine artist who currently lives and works in Porvoo, Finland. She works with different mediums ranging from drawing and painting to video and performance. In 2021, Mariam represented the Kingdom of Bahrain in Finland’s most prominent leading Art festival ‘Mänttä Art Festival’. She also represented her country as Mariam Haji in the 55th Venice Biennale 2013 and was the winner of Bahrain's 38th National Fine Art Competition for her “Muse” series, the youngest female artist to receive an honorary award from his Excellency the Prime Minister of Bahrain Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa in 2012.
In conjunction with her studio practice, she has been invited to lead several international artist talks and workshops including at the Finnish National Museum of Finland, Oodi Library in Helsinki, Finland. Mathaf Arab Museum Of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar; the Ministry of the People's republic of China in Beijing, China; Macgregor State High School, Brisbane, Australia and the Corner College in Zurich,Switzerland.
Mariam’s work is considered a national heritage to her country Bahrain. Her piece titled “Victory” is on permanent public display inside the National Theatre of Bahrain and her work is also included in the permanent art collection of The National Museum of Bahrain.
I am constantly questioning cultural systems or truths in order to generate new waves of understanding as to where “we” are at, as a globally influenced Khaleeji culture. From an aesthetic standpoint, I take greatest delight in the personal story; a large- scale, dramatic presence that bridges an emotional intensity between the artwork and the viewer, especially in my drawings. My video works navigate the socio political landscapes of inter cultural encounters and the paradoxes within multicultural communications.
I believe I have become an intercultural hybrid; an artist that exists between a spectrum of the Khaleeji way of life and moral upbringing, and a western education which was initiated by an Indian school and was followed by a British standard system. In addition to this eclectic cultural background, I now thrive in an interracial marriage in Scandinavia. All of this has largely contributed to the change and rebranding of my Artist name and strategies. I am exploring hybrid identities, communication, memories, online social trends that challenge moralities, and our shifting collective perception of truth. I am also specifically interested in the Khaleeji traditional landscape.
Solo at Suomenlinna Cathedral (UNESCO world heritage site), Helsinki, Finland
BA Fine Art (Drawing), RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Visual Arts Diploma, TAFE, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Introductory Course in Art and Design, Dundee College, Dundee, Scotland