Sonya Mantere: #26 The Morning Aerobic

Edition: 1/5
Year: 2023
Dimensions: 29 x 21 cm (K x L)
Pigment print mounted on aluminum composite, birch frame, spray coat finish with paint, museum glass

Location: Hippolyte Studio (Yrjönkatu 8-10, 00120 Helsinki)

From the exhibition: (She Wanted to be Named) Rebecca
Hippolyte Studio

Sonya Mantere’s photography exhibition (She Wanted to Be Named) Rebecca began in 2018 as the artist examined her mother’s beauty standards and self-expression, putting on makeup and how to dress, limitations relating to them, and the thoughts that emerged about societal expectations placed on older women. Mantere has aspired to create an atmosphere in the exhibition where a viewer could identify with the person in the images. The character of an ageing woman becomes visible and playful, normalising the transition of an older woman between different roles.

Having shared a life with her mother since childhood, through this evolving photo series has brought forth greater clarity of the relationship between mother and daughter.  Their personalities became more similar as the photographic project progressed, yet their roles changed. Mantere feels that she has taken on a parental position, guiding and constructing the photographs, while her mother, in turn, engages in various personas through play.

In her work, Mantere examines her relationship with her mother while reflecting on her own habits and identity, which she sees becoming increasingly similar to her mother’s. While capturing her mother, Mantere simultaneously captures herself, and the more closely she looks, the more she recognises herself in the works — a simultaneously challenging and fascinating phenomenon. Mantere reflects on whether we ultimately become our parents.

At Hippolyte Studio, the artist creates a collage-like composition by combining textiles and photographs. In the exhibition, the viewer is invited to get to know this character called Rebecca. Mantere is inspired by her mother and the multifaceted person she truly is.

Sonya Mantere (b. 1987) is a Helsinki-based photographic artist. In her works, Mantere often examines the intimate and familiar, such as her mother, through interpretation and role-play. By exploring her mother, Mantere also explores her identity. She focuses on finding new layers in their relationship while building works in collaboration with her mother. Mantere graduated from the master’s program in Photography at Aalto University in 2023 and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Photography from the Royal Academy of Art in the Netherlands (2019). Mantere’s works have been exhibited at Amsterdam’s Unseen art fair (NL), Uncertain States Scandinavia (NO), Melkweg Expo (NL), and at Open Studios in SÍM’s Seljavegur residency (IS).