Riitta Ikonen is a Finnish artist whose collaborative work reinforces humanity's connection to the natural world.

Why you should listen

Driven by curiosity and imagination, Riitta Ikonen seeks to understand our relationship with our surroundings. With her longtime collaborator Karoline Hjorth, the Norwegian-Finnish artist duo started the series Eyes as Big as Plates in 2011, studying the personifications of nature and folkloric traditions in the Nordic countries. They have traveled to 14 countries, creating more than one hundred portraits. Their work has been featured worldwide, including in the Museum of Contemporary Arts Kiasma (Finland), The Chimney Gallery NYC, Bogota International Photo Biennale, National Museum of Art and Seibu Shibuya (Tokyo). The book version of Eyes as Big as Plates was nominated for the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards in 2017 and won gold for best cover in Årets vakreste Bøker in 2018. Their collaboration continues with new works and exhibitions in Senegal, Outer Hebrides and Turkey.

Ikonen received her BA from the University of Brighton and her MA from Royal College of Art in London. She lives and works in New York City and London. Ikonen has exhibited her work at Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki, London 2012 Olympic Park, Seibu Shibuya in Tokyo, Winzavod Art Center in Moscow, Hockney Gallery and the annual RCA Secret exhibition at Royal College of Art, Photographer’s Gallery, Tate Britain, Gulbenkian foundation headquarters and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Riitta Ikonen’s TED talk