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In the days following the attack against the Parisian satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, newspapers, artists, and social media users worldwide adopted the phrase “Je suis Charlie” and posted images, texts, and photos adamantly wherever they could.
Clearly, freedom of expression cannot be destroyed with a gun and it’s important to understand that it not only divides us, but in many ways brings us closer to one another which is evident in the wake of these shootings.
The Finnish response ‘Minä Olen Charlie’ can be seen at the Arabianranta library in Helsinki from now through the month of May.
A small set of displays, filled with passionate and humorous artworks addressing the shootings, sits just to the right of the circulation desk.
The exhibit addresses the freedom of expression along with the importance of humour in today’s society.
Much like the exhibit, the community of artists and illustrators here in Finland is small, but passionate.
The show was organised through the Sarjakuvakeskus, an active gallery space, which serves as a meeting point for discussions, workshops, and exhibitions focusing on comic culture.
Illustrations were contributed by the following artists: JP Ahonen, Pertti Jarla, Petri Koikkalainen, Timo Kokkila, Heikki Paakkanen, Milla Paloniemi, Jope Pitkänen, Ville Ranta, Joonas Rinta-Kanto and Aino Sutinen.
On Wednesday January 7, around 11:30, two men stormed into the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a Paris-based satirical magazine.
Armed with assault rifles and suggesting their intentions were religious, the two men asked for by name and then shot the newspaper’s editor and 4 of the cartoonists.
The gunmen called out the name of each victim as they were executed. Several witness said they heard the men shouting “God is Great” in Arabic as the murders took place.
At the end of the day the two men (brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi ) took the lives of 12 people in the name of Islam. Following a 48-hour chase the brothers were eventually surrounded and gunned down in when they exited a printing firm and opened fire on the police.
‘Minä olen Charlie’ is arranged by the Finnish Comic Society at the Arabianranta library (Hämeentie 135 A, Helsinki) from 2.11-5.30.2015. The exhibition is open from 9-16. Entrance is free.