Laina Yritykselle is a member of the First Generation, which is the children of parents who were in their twenties when they married. She was born and raised in Finland, where she became interested in art after completing her formal education. She studied painting and sculpture in both Malmo and Finland and worked as an art dealer while living in London, where she pursued her Master’s degree in contemporary arts with a focus on African art.
After a spell working as a studio assistant manager in an art gallery, she decided that she wanted to develop a personal practice and went to live and work in Cape Town, South Africa, where she lived and worked for three years. Since moving back to England, Laina has been working in London and currently works as a writer, exhibiting mainly in museums and galleries, though she is also involved in running many art and cultural events.
When she moved to South Africa, Laina Yritykselle travelled to the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, where she photographed the people of the township of Masiphumelele and the surrounding area. She worked with several photographers from that town, including one who specialized in photographing sports, and helped them create an entire photographic collection of portraits, highlighting the most popular sports and personalities of the area. As she did so, she came across an overlooked group of children, called Akosua, who were playing with watermelon and other fruits on the ground. While other children were playing, the youngsters would approach the watermelon, pick it up and eat it.
One day, as she was photographing one particular child, the child suddenly covered his face with a black headband called a sek yritykkel, which is used in the traditional South African culture to keep hair loose. As this child saw Laina, he quickly covered his eyes with the headband and tried to hide his face. In frustration, Laina told him no, that she was going to take the picture, but that she would not allow him to cover his face. When she explained that the headband was tradition, and a part of the culture of the people in Masiphumele, he relented.
The photographer then asked Laina why she was not using her camera to take pictures of all of the children taking advantage of the free food that the municipality had set aside for the children. As she looked through her lens, however, she noticed that there were a couple of children that she wanted to photograph, but the others were too afraid to approach. When she asked the mother why she had made the children stay away, she responded that they were afraid that she would touch the child that was wearing the sek yritykse. It was true that she had been standing too close to the little boy when he wanted to touch her, but the mother said that she had always remembered that the little boy wanted to be photographed.
Laina Yritykselle took two very important photos on that day. The first picture showed the little boy’s smiling face as he approached her, and the second photo displayed the deep thought that had caught his attention. As she clicked away at her camera, she noticed that the second photo had a slightly different quality than the first one. This may have been due to the fact that her lighting was not quite right, or perhaps it could have been because the sun was in her eye.
At the beginning of August, Laina was preparing breakfast. While preparing the food, she noticed that one of her cutlery had a chip in it, and when she asked where this cutlery came from, she learned that it came from Vakuukkasa, a small village just up the road from the capital. This discovery brought Laina back to the village that she had visited the day before. As she talked with the other tourists about their travel experiences, she learned that the most well-known attraction in Vakuukkasa is a picturesque lake which separates it from the district of Voiitiz Plaza.
The next day, Laina and her husband, Kaikaku Yritykselle, visited the Lake Alanya. Once they arrived, they noticed that the area around the lake was completely changed, and there were no buildings, streets, or other sign that you would expect to see in such a small town. As they walked toward the edge of the water, they saw a small chapel with a beautiful statue of Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. The couple’s youngest son, Rincon Yritykse, was excited as he sat on the edge of the paddy field, waiting for his mother.
Laina and her husband decided to take a walk toward the Lake Alanya owater. As they neared the edge of the water, they saw two men playing a game of basketball. One of the men threw the ball toward the opposite end of the lake, and Laina quickly scooped it up and returned it to her son. As they stood there looking at the sportsmen, Laina suddenly noticed something very familiar-a koi, maybe one of the long variety or one of the silver varieties. This fish, she explained, belonged to a nearby lake known as Erikero Koi Ilman Vakuuksia.