Outsider Art Festival avajaiset kansallismuseo karhu

Outsider Art Festival 2023 says thank you!

Thank you to all the artists, partners, work teams and of course the audience of the festival! At OAF 2023 we enjoyed meeting familiar faces and new audiences for 10 days and in more than 20 live events. Here we have collected some thoughts from the guests and working teams of the festival.

The theme of this year’s festival was internationality and employment. The festival’s employment goal was met beyond expectations. This year’s OAF program featured 55 artists from different fields, and the number of people who made the events possible was 130 in total. There were work teams from Pertti’s Choice, the Autism Foundation, Kukunori, Alvi ry, Helsinki Job’d and Ammattiopisto Luovi These teams made the events possible together with the permanent staff from HAM, Oodi, the National Museum, G Livelab, Semifinal and Radio Helsinki. Ville Hovi, sales coordinator at the National Museum, was pleased with the new and diverse collaboration: “OAF is a globally unique concept as well as an eye-opening and world-widening project on a personal level!”

The public responded very well to the OAF events and attendance at the events increased significantly from previous years. More than 1,000 people attended the OAF Opening event at the National Museum. The sold-out Semifinal and Huvila concerts featured a diverse line-up of artists, and the OAF Talks -program reached up to 3.2 million listeners in Radio Helsinki’s coverage area. Audience member Ville, who has been following OAF’s activities since the very beginning, initially found the events online. According to Ville, the atmosphere of the festival is one of acceptance and consideration for all people. “The great thing about OAF’s events is that there are all kinds of people, which creates more encounters with diversity. And it’s also great that OAF gives artists from different backgrounds the opportunity to perform in public and get noticed!

Our international guests from the Vancouver Outsider Arts Festival followed the festival with great interest. The VOAF team was particularly impressed by the strong visual presence of the festival, its visibility in the cityscape, and the joy and enthusiasm of the audience and the OAF work teams. The collaboration will continue in October, when the OAF films will have their international premiere in Vancouver! OAF’s international residency guest, punk noise duo mirrored fatality, arrived from Los Angeles. The artists worked on their performance in Helsinki for a month, and thank the OAF production for its hospitality and equality: “We have never experienced such an inclusive festival production, especially when it comes to the representation of disability and diversity.”

On the last day of the festival, the HAM and Oodi teams were feeling a bit blue. “It is a sad feeling now that the festivities are over. I have to start planning for next year,” commented Mika Hagman, who this year performed on the G Livelab stage and hosted the OAF opening in addition to being a part of the festival’s artistic working team. 

At HAM, the team was entertained by two children who gave critical feedback on the exhibition: “Luckily Jaana Miettinen’s Poketalo and the Poketalo video were on display, because they were the only things worth looking at in the whole museum”, the children commented. Everyone has felt good about the encounters and the feedback, and the guides are looking forward to their next assignments. “It’s a long time to wait until next year!”

You can still check out art, videos of artists and lots more from our Online Stage and Virtual gallery here.