A picture from the exhibition. Photo: Maija Astikainen / Helsinki City Museum


The new Being Black - Poimintoja afrosuomalaisuudesta (highlights of Afro-Finnish culture) exhibition at Helsinki City Museum, opening on April 22, explores the experiences of Afro-Finnish people in Helsinki and their contributions to the city's culture. The exhibition, which was developed in collaboration with young Afro-Finnish adults, features their stories and memories of older generations from different decades. It is the first exhibition of its kind in Helsinki and highlights the diversity of the city and the importance of preserving cultural heritage.

The exhibition offers a space for reflection on diversity, identity, tradition, and the challenges faced by Afro-Finnish people in various areas of life, such as education and employment, as well as the impact of external forces such as racism. Visitors can explore the diverse range of Afro-hairstyles and hair types in a hair salon built within the museum. In addition, there is a wide range of photographs showcasing the everyday life of Afro-Finnish people from past decades to the present.

The curator of the exhibition, Wisam Elfadl, hopes that the exhibition will encourage Afro-Finnish people to recognize and preserve their unique cultural heritage and strengthen their sense of identity and belonging. The exhibition also encourages all visitors to see diversity as an integral part of Helsinki's rich culture.

The exhibition focuses on Afro-Finnish people who have roots in Sub-Saharan Africa and are part of the African diaspora. However, not all people with these roots identify as Afro-Finnish, and black people and people of African descent living in Finland do not share a common identity, history, or culture. The exhibition aims to raise awareness of Afro-Finnish culture and encourage discussion about what aspects of it should be preserved for future generations.

The exhibition will be supplemented with workshops and events related to the themes of the exhibition throughout the spring and summer. Visitors are invited to share their experiences, photographs, and objects related to their cultural heritage in these workshops. The AFROFINN FASHION fashion show will also take place in the museum's lobby during the opening weekend.

Overall, the Being Black - Poimintoja afrosuomalaisuudesta exhibition is a historic event that highlights the contributions and experiences of Afro-Finnish people and their role in shaping the culture of Helsinki. It is an excellent opportunity to learn about the diversity of the city and reflect on the importance of preserving cultural heritage.