Sointula is a remote village on Malcolm Island located in the unceded Kwakwaka’wakw Territory of the Kwakiutl, Mamalilikala, and ‘Namgis First Nations in British Columbia, Canada. Sointula (“Place of Harmony” in Finnish) was established by Finnish utopian socialist miners in 1901. In 2017 I started making portraits with people on the island during a residency at the Sointula Art Shed. The intention of the work is a nuanced and partial portrait of Sointula that captures something of its history, complexity, beauty, and uniqueness through portraits of its residents, landscapes, and architecture. I am intrigued by Sointula’s origins as an intentional, self-governing, self-directed settlement, and the ways in which this remote island community expresses the resilience of its original values in a changing world. A small excerpt of photos from this ongoing project are shown here.
James "Jimmy" Michael Poulton and Nancy Olga Poulton/Lanqvist
James "Jimmy" Michael Poulton and Nancy Olga Poulton/Lanqvist stand in front of the house they used to live with their mother "Toots" (Johanna Laura Poulton) over 50 years ago. Built in 1904 on this site on Rauhala heritage farm, it is one of the last buildings still standing built by the Kalavan Kanssa Finnish settlers. Nancy's son Roger Léo Lanqvist hopes to restore the building and turn it into a museum. Sointula, British Columbia.
Tyler Brett, Kerri Reid, and Teddy
Artists Tyler Brett and Kerri Reid, co-directors of the Sointula Art Shed, with their son Teddy and their chickens, all named Darlene, in front of the chicken coop Tyler built with help from Teddy. Tyler also works as a paramedic, and was recently hired as Sointula's first Community Paramedic, and Kerri works from home for Living Oceans Society. Sointula, British Columbia.
Roger Léo Lanqvist
Roger Léo Lanqvist, fourth-generation descendant of the original Finnish settlers to Malcolm Island. Photographed at Rauhala, his family's heritage farm. Roger brings public awareness to this site's fragile heritage through guided tours. The tree Roger is standing beside was carved by his Father when Roger was a new born baby, 36 years ago. Sointula, British Columbia