Sanna From – Heta Kuchka: Mashallah – ما شاء الله
Mashallah – ما شاء الله is a phrase used in Arabic countries as well as some regions in Asia and the Balkans meaning "God has willed", or "God willing". It is also used as a word of congratulation or praise for important achievements: "You have done well and achieved a lot, Mashallah." In some cultures it is used as a magic word that can be uttered to repeal evil things.
Who gets to be seen and heard in our society? What matters to whom and who decides what is important? How do we face the unknown?
In Mashallah, a group of young adults who have lived in Finland for a few years join forces with number of senior contemporary dance enthusiasts to explore these questions. The young adults participate in the process as part of their school work.
The performance is part of a project funded by the European Social Fund that supports young people with immigrant backgrounds through art, culture and youth work in schools.
The process has highlighted the young immigrant adults' great need to learn many new things: a new language, new customs, all the small things that together form everyday life and what we call culture. What a massive task, with so much humour often tinged with desperation!
The performance brings together motion and media art. Its content has been produced gradually as the process has moved on, focusing on the performers, their personalities, skills and interests. Rehearsals have consisted of dancing, exercising, writing, talking about important things, eating and napping together.
Over the course of the process the directors – dancer Sanna From and media artist Heta Kuchka – have been forced to reflect on how to produce a performance with several pre-set goals in an ethical manner. How to use the power as Finnish-born artists in a situation where few of the performers have experience of this kind of process, or art in general?
The lighting design of Mashallah is created by Mia Kivinen, while the sound-world is designed by Anders Pohjola. Finnish instructor Mari Nikonen has participated in the process by opening an educational perspective to the themes. Cultural producer and community educator students from the HUMAK University of Applies Sciences have also been involved in the rehearsals.