This is introductory film for the exhibition “Behind the Mascara”, which took place on 13.4.-11.5.2006, in Gallery Valssaamo, Cable Factory, Helsinki, Finland. I was curator, one of the artists and also decided to document the making of it, which later became “Behind Eliza’s Mascara” morbid humorous documentary. The Eva Brownies were three women, who met in Helsinki underground scene and shared love for rock’n’roll, art and dancing. Karoliina Taipale was already member of another art group, known as ROR (Revolution on Request) and Maria Hakkarainen (Laiho), was known as a artist and guitar player/singer of the Thee Ultra Bimboos.
The exhibition received media recognition, which tried to point a finger towards the fact that it was covering only international female artists. Our aim of course, was to direct the attention towards the viewer’s emotional reactions, instead of the ethnicity or gender status of the artists involved. The topics of “Behind the Mascara” were connected to the message spread by activists such as Tarana Burke, The Guerrila Girls, Betty Tompkins, Tracy Emin, Frida Kahlo and all the others, who have raised consciousness through their work about topics of equality in the art world and the world at large. Our manifesto was not be defined as “female art”, while playing with the image of the women who was given the stage. That is reflected already through the Eva Brownies’s name.
This exhibition’s aim, was obviously about empowerment and simply giving the stage to play. We wanted to present current artists, with whom we shared friendships, visions, laughs and ideas. The showcase created its own shape and destined future collaborations. There were many people helping us on the way and we learned great deal as curators and collaborators. I want to express our gratitude to everyone who took part in the making of this exhibition and supported the “Eva Brownies”. This would have not been possible without everyone involved. Also special thanks to the contributions made by “Finnish Cultural Foundation”, “The Art Council of Finland”, “Laitilan Kukko”, “Goodpie Backery”, “Ravintola Kaisaniemi”, “Suomi Sauna Bus”, “Cleaning Women”, “Miss Monster Club” and “Like Publishing”. The “Behind the Mascara” artist list was: Maria Hakkarainen, Karoliina Taipale, Eliza Karmasalo, Jessica Leino, Ulla Karttunen, Tuija Helena Markonsalo, Suvi Aarnio, Sanna-Mari Liukkonen, Lilli Kinnunen, Sari Hiltunen, Kanerva Kytö, Johanna Sipilä, Anna Hakkarainen, Hanna Hopea, Jenni Rope, Tellervo Kalleinen, Ada Bligaard Søby, Elizabeth A. Lopez, Anette Ericson and Ingen Frygt.
Camera: Eliza Karmasalo
Editing: Sasha Silvala
Music: Cleaning Women
Opening photographs by Lizz Lopez
Copyright © Eva Brownies, Finland, 2006