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'I gain inspiration from literature, mythology, nature, travelling, fashion, thrift stores

and life in general'

Ilona Niemi (b. 1975) is a visual artist based in Finland. She is particularly interested in the construction of (gendered) identity and the human-animal relationship.


Her works have a personal dimension: Niemi's friend disappeared in 1988, throwing a dark shadow on her happy childhood memories. As a result, darkness hides under a beautiful and sometimes humorous coating in Niemi's work. Cutting is a vital part of her process: she creates through the process of destruction. For Niemi, art is a continuation of childhood play: a space for anarchy and freedom.


Ilona Niemi graduated with a BA (Hons) from Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen in 2001, followed by an MFA from SIUC, IL, USA in 2007. Her artwork has been exhibited in several group shows internationally, including the BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2002, Le papier (part) deux, at Gescheidle Gallery in Chicago, 2007, and Futile Matters at Turku Art Museum, Finland, in 2007. She has won awards such as the Royal Scottish Academy Painting Prize and Maclaine & Watters Medal. A catalogue Ilona Niemi WasteLand was published in conjunction with Niemi's solo exhibition at Salo Art Museum in 2014, funded by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.  Niemi's solo exhibitions include Salo Art Museum (2014) and Joensuu Art Museum (2018), to mention just a couple. For more information, download her CV below.

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