“Headstones ranged from cracked, illegible, mossy blocks to rounded granite markers polished to a mirror-like finish and engraved with modern, sans-serif type. As a graphic designer and artist, I found the variations in typography, language, and memorial designs to be revealing of the time and sensibility of their making. In particular, on an area called ‘Artist’s Hill,’ it seemed as though the bold graves were in competition to most daringly showcase the accomplishments of the musicians, poets, painters and architects buried beneath. Here, asymmetrical, modern and near featureless stones stood in close proximity to art nouveau and neoclassical designs.”
With the assistance of the Finlandia Foundation and the Institute of European Studies at UC Berkeley, Kotila was able to return to Helsinki in 2009 to embark upon his photo exploration.
“Nothing I shot was staged or altered in any way, my photos simply document what I found. I hope, too, they attempt to capture at least some of what is not visible in this wondrous and poignant Nordic Elysium.”
The exhibit can be viewed during the Ashtabula Arts Center’s regular business hours, Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission to the gallery exhibit is free.