► Genesis – A Battle of Values provides an in-depth background to a forthcoming exhibition featuring artist-curator Ahmed Al-Nawas (b. 1980) and visual artist Minna Henriksson (b. 1976) at the Serlachius Museum Gustaf in Mänttä in 2023. Al-Nawas and Henriksson have been collaborating since 2015. In their practice, they engage in a critical reappraisal of history, politicizing it through art, often with crafts as a focal element in their work.
The artists’ self-authored essay introduces the exhibition’s core theme of alternative history reading. In their version of the Serlachius company’s history, the factory and town of Mänttä are not the grand achievement of one man but born as a collective process. Not only the industrial elite but also the workers play an instrumental role in the company’s genesis by joining forces, unionizing and taking to the barricades to fight for their rights.
Annika Waenerberg’s article is a dialogue between art history and environmental history, shedding light on the complex relationship between national artistic ideals and industrial and economic realities in the contradictory landscapes of the 19th and early 20th centuries.