Maria LaxSome Kind of Heavenly Fire

Exhibition from July 5 to September 26, 2021

“I’m from a small town in Northern Finland surrounded by a vast, sparsely populated wilderness. Most pass through the town on their way someplace else without ever knowing it was a hotspot for UFO sightings in the 1960’s.

Unaware of this history myself, it wasn’t until I read my grandfather’s book that I learnt of the incredible stories of supernatural events, bravery and struggle against hardship in what is largely a barren land. Already suffering from dementia, he was unable to answer any of the questions I had so I went looking for the answers. I turned to the people who had seen the mysterious lights, to newspaper archives and my family’s photo albums from the era.

The UFO sightings coincided with a time of great struggle for Northern Finland. People flooded from the countryside to the cities in search of jobs leaving abandoned houses scattered across this beautiful but harsh landscape. It’s no wonder that the UFO sightings embodied a fear of the future, the unknown and the inexorable shift in lifestyles and livelihoods going on around them. Some reacted to the mysterious lights with fear, some took them as a sign they were not alone.” 

Maria Lax-WEB.tif

© Maria Lax, Awake

This work was selected as a winning series for OpenWalls Arles 2021, a collaboration between the British Journal of Photography, 1854 Media and Galerie Huit Arles.

About the Artist

Maria Lax is a London-based photographer from a small town in northern Finland. in northern Finland. She is known for her use of color and her experimental experimental techniques.

Maria's first monograph, Some Kind of Heavenly Fire, was published in February published in February 2020 and is currently in its second printing. Her book chosen as one of the photo books of the year by the Photobookstore.