Prologue added on the 29th of December 2004
In the early autumn 2004 I created a series of works where a wayfaring leaf on a water surface associates to a human being who is able to handle the dangers of a powerful sea. "Aventura Náutica" -works presented adventures.
Tsunami news from Asia yesterday altered my view. The element I love so much, water, caused so much grief and sorrow. We human beings were unable to manage dangers of that element anyway. You were not fair to us, my beloved ocean, for many you did not give any change. But eventually it is the earthquake to blame, the ocean was even kind enough to give us a warning in the form of an initial lower flood-wave, but we neglected it. Instead of an adventure, the result was a total disaster, because of our own ignorance of identifying and surviving tsunamis (article).
Now we are just stunned. Just like those Japanese fishermen who created the term "tsunami" were stunned when they arrived to their harbour seeing homes devastated by waves, although they hadn't noticed any wave in the open water ("tsu" = harbour and "nami" =wave). I was totally unaware that a tsunami wave -lesson was given even to us in Europe only 250 years ago. The killer wave followed a few minutes after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Before that great wave hit, the harbor waters retreated, revealing lost cargo and forgotten shipwrecks. Now we know the phenomenon from TV. Many people in Asia would have survived if they knew what that phenomenon indicated to them.
Wildlife officials in Sri Lanka were surprised that animals survived really well in Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, badly hit by floodwaters. Apparently the animals instinctively knew about tsunami waves to come and moved to higher ground (article). Are we humans too eager to conquer the nature, and forget to listen to it.
With a deep grief and sorrow,
Timo-Olavi Jalkanen, artist
Postscript added on the 30th of December 2004I brought some other kind of works into this "In the hands of the sea" -page from "Sanctuarium" -serie. To remind that the water element is not all bad; here the wave is kind and relaxing, and the leaf, still associated to a human being, just rests on the shore. This scene represents peace and security. After all, water is a life keeping element for us. Without it we did not exist.
Let us wish eternal sanctuary to all those whose love to live near the ocean determined their destiny.
Timo-Olavi Jalkanen, a passionate lover of a water element too