contemplating ‘sanctuary’

Our upcoming exhibition in collaboration with Lakeside at the Wallner Gallery, entitled ‘Sanctuary,’ showcases the Golder-Thompson gift of contemporary photography recently presented to the University. The collection consists of a range of international photographers who experiment with different subject matter, medium and meaning; yet it seems their pieces link to ideas of preservation, exploration and protection. From finding solitude in the natural world to capturing religious architecture to conveying personal identity, there is an overwhelming sense of sanctuary, or at least a sense of self-exploration. ‘Sanctuary,’ provides an angle in which the public can view the works; yet, at the same time, opens up the floor for personal interpretation. Crop Up wants to encourage personal expression among the audience who visit this exhibition, so to kick it off, we asked Crop Up members what the term ‘Sanctuary’ meant to them.

“Sanctuary as a word does not really have that much meaning to me. I do know what it means by definition, but I don’t think I personally have a place (physical or mental) that’s a sanctuary. As a child, I used to use internet forums (the good as well as some of the infamous ones) as refuge from real life, which I guess you could count as a sanctuary. I guess I was running from a lot of things, but who cares about that? I don’t think I gained anything else from them except my excessive knowledge and love for memes. I still think of that part of my childhood with some level of nostalgia, though, (even if my addiction to the internet was unhealthy due to not-so-fun reasons). It made me into who I am now. Maybe that’s what a sanctuary is to me – a place of slow metamorphosis and learning.” – Katja

We asked Crop Up members to link the term to a photograph of their choice from the exhibition…


“The idea of a sanctuary may be echoed in Santeri Tuori’s Forest No. 27 piece, where nature can be seen to offer a calm and reflective atmosphere mirrored in the delicate movement of the branches across the canvas, with the limited colour scheme aiding our focus on the shape of the branches, following their curves with our eyes which I personally find very calming and almost therapeutic. Compositionally, this piece may also remind us of Van Gogh’s “Almond Blossom”, also connoting the theme of nature as a motif of harmony, again affiliating these works with the concept of a sanctuary.”                – Weronika


“The word Sanctuary embodies many personal and reflective characteristics. To be in a sanctuary implies a place of self-protection, of calm and where mindful consciousness takes strength. When looking at Jorma Puranen’s Hidden in Light, an abstract piece that depicts the glimmering reflection of light in nature, it seems to me to symbolise a kind of universal sanctuary: a place, an ecosystem, of growth and balance. To me, what implies this balance is the mixture of lightness and shadow that is bathed in the green of nature. It is clearly a fragment of a wider sanctuary but our focus is merely on the smooth yet interrupted reflection of the water, a calming tool in aiding our own restless mind.”          – Bella

Although here are only a few personal responses to the works in the exhibition, from 7th April, you will be able to read Crop Up’s interpretations of all the other pieces on display in the Wallner Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre. You can access this using the ‘Artcodes’ app, (which work in a similar way to QR codes). For more information on how to use the app, please click here.


Written by Katja Vääränen, Weronika Bargiel & Bella Jurczynski

Edited by Cecily Rainey

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