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Outi Niva


I am Outi, a 53-year-old woman, a mother of three children and a grandmother. New Year's Eve is an anniversary for me. It will be 11 years since my son died suddenly in a car accident. It started a whole new kind of life for me. It felt like my whole body flew in pieces around that small living room when the policemen standing in front of me with sadness shared the sad message. I still remember that pain. I still feel that pain. Time has softened the pain, but it has also broken something in me which can’t be fixed. Somehow, I tried to survive day after day, year after year. At first, it felt like time stopped, well into spring, the season didn't change for me. I wished that I could go back or that I could have made a trade, I could have died instead of my child. I wanted to talk endlessly and repeat the scene over and over again. Could anyone help? Could anyone change what happened? Death is final. I'm trying to survive. I ended a relationship where I suffered emotional and physical abuse. Confusion, alcohol, several job changes… I was diagnosed with depression. The antidepressants didn’t work for me. I felt that I couldn't take this. It’s too hard. I don't want to live. In the spring of 2019, my employment contract ended and I buried myself at home. I found work too much for me. I thought that I wouldn't leave home until I found out what I actually have strength for. Who am I anyway after all these experiences? My childhood trauma started to surface in my mind. Everything started to swirl in my head like a messed-up ball of yarn. In the fall of 2020, something wonderful happened. Encouraged by my friend, I applied to Pori Art School and got in. Making art has proven to be an important channel for me on my journey to wholeness. By experimenting with various materials and techniques, I began to get to know myself. In the end, the emotional process set in motion by making the artwork has been more important to me than the work itself. The state when logical thinking is pushed aside and you let your body speak through your hands has been very therapeutic for me. I think that what art technique I like to use from time to time is seasonal for me. My latest passion has been ceramics, but I also get excited about painting and drawing. It has been liberating to understand that I don't have to chain myself to just one technique.

The artists' stories

"The Vibrant Mind" is an art contest that celebrates artistic expression from individuals with mental health conditions. By focusing on the artists' work rather than their various diagnoses, it hopes to promote a stigma-free and inclusive environment.


That being said, the participants were given the option to share their background stories if they wished to do so.

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