Creative Scene in Estonia

I’m jumping straight from the silence this blog page has been suffering from since Lebanon to an article I wrote for King Kong magazine about Estonian creative scene.  Trying to make this part of my website more active again. 


In order to tell you about the creative scene in Estonia, it is important to know some of the background of it.

I was born in 1993 to the newly independent Estonia. It is this beautiful tiny country with a population of 1,3 million people, flourishing with green nature one half of the year and is freezing cold, dark and grey the other half.

Throughout centuries our home was under many foreign occupations. Our neighboring countries forcing their beliefs and ways on our people, making estonians voiceless and suppressed. No arms to fight with, our deeply rooted pagan spirit, patience and level-headedness helped us to rise as an independent nation from Soviet Union in 1991.

As a mass, we look like a very grumpy crowd of people who are forced to have  bad sex all the time. Seeing a stranger smile to you on the streets is more bizarre than seeing a flying pig.. But getting a closer look, one can see the extremely loyal, hard working, kind hearted forces of nature. Witches. Wolves.

I think it was just a couple years ago that I started noticing a change in the creative world of Estonia. Suddenly we accepted that fashion and trends arrive late to us if they even do, so we dress to match our characters, thrift store gems are making kids look fresh as fuck, we have girl rappers presenting some badass lines, djs performing in forest parties.. Slowly but surely we are less self conscious and more brave to be our true selves. Lets put it this way - Instead of Kim Kardashing our appearances, we Princess Nokia our fat bellies and lil titties with some glitter action.  

Our parents, forefathers were living by the rules of the oppressors - no room to dream, just work hard to have bread on the table and do as told, the walls have ears. Free at last, we are still learning to unlearn the rules. Today, we live in a completely different Estonia though, it is unusual for older generations to comprehend that the young travels, works abroad, doesn’t follow the old structures of what living should be like, makes living by coloring faces and taking photos of them..whaaaaat.. My grandma says jokingly ‘’stop playing a fool’’ while my mom tells me that i’m living her dream.  Besides that, interestingly, some call us a ‘’fatherless generation’’. Most of us didn’t grow up having an honorable, loving father figure, they are/were either criminals, drunks or just playing a 25 year long hide and seek.. Instead, we have been raised by the endless love of our heroic mothers. Growing up witnessing the strength of love that makes a woman, a mother, move mountains in order to provide their children a fair chance of  a healthy future is what has made us to be the people we are today.

So yeah, it’s definitely been challenging to find own voice for the creative scene, when western worlds movies show life from a completely different angle, with different values than ours. We have gone from being offended by the label ‘’Eastern Europe’’ and trying to prove our western ways to really embracing our roots, finding our voices, understanding that what makes us different, makes us special. We are continuously deeply spiritual. We worship the nature, we talk to the sea, we hug trees, we follow the moon. We work hard towards perfection and trust in our Mothers Land. Our creative industry is massively lead by awesome multi talented women. Designers stay environmentally conscious. Photographers take photos of women as warrior, goddesses instead of over sexualizing them. We are not afraid of looking androgynous nor unicorns. We are keeping reality in our fantasies, empowering one another, caring for one another. United.

March 6, 2017 

I haven’t written as much as there’s so much happening while I’m getting more used to the life here everyday.

I haven’t really shed a tear much before but after reading about the stories my girls wrote of their lives before war and now I haven’t been able to stop tearing up.. I guess it takes  a minute to get used to the life and once you’ve gotten to a certain understanding, you start hearing more what is said around you. 

The more I get to know about the  lives of the people who I’m surrounded by, the more admiration i have for them. This feeling is accompanied with deep sadness, like a rock sitting on my heart. Their stories are difficult, there’s so much loss, but their outlook to life is about moving forward and making the best of all. They are so strong. The war took their homes and people close to them and it didn’t stop there, now they are imprisoned in countries where they don’t want to be, where they are treated with such disrespect, separated from their families and friends.
I have grown to understand that the ones who can reason why they don’t care of giving their helping hand to a refugee are the weakest of them all. They have let media brainwash them to think Syrian refugee’s are not people, that Syrian children are not kids, that muslims are bad and all terrorists, that Syrian want to take over countries.. yet they are kindest people i’ve met. They give and give and give even though they don’t have much.. 

They had it all before.. and now so many are forced to live like dogs. It could be you. If we let war keep happening, it could be you one day, or your child, or your grandchild. 

It’s very hard for me to work on the images i’ve taken of the people in Saida. I’ve captured a lot of these moments where they look so happy. It’s this moment I pressed the button on my camera, this moment I’m eternally grateful for. As SB’s slogan says ‘’Give Hope’’, their smiles on the images give hope to me. My heart is broken and yet I feel so much love looking at them. 

25th feb

I’m very tired. I feel very humbled to deserve to live together with the people I do, to work side by side with the people I do, to teach the people I do. I learn so much everyday.

I wish the people who are against the refugees in Europe would instead take action to stop their governments participating in the war in Syria. I wish you would educate yourselves of the lives Syrians lived in their country. Lives were good. In the way a lot of europeans suffer in poverty, they didn’t even have that. There’s a reason why everyone wants a piece of it. Syrians do not want your country nor your shit jobs, they want to go back home. They didn’t ask for their whole lives efforts to be destroyed, their families to be separated or killed. I feel anger that so many  even dare to think otherwise.

I’m honestly terrified of returning to europe as I’ve heard people’s reactions about the refugees, their opinions, views.. even most of my own friends don’t care as little about it to show some support to my efforts here.. But that’s why I’m here, to hopefully make you see the reality one day. No matter how hard it is for me to share this experience here with you. 

Look at these kids in the eyes and try telling them they don’t deserve a safe home, education, quality in their lives..  

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