12:00 – 16:00



My one-man exhibition ‘Deliver us from Evil’ at Galleria A2 in Helsinki is both a final point and interim stock-taking of the drawing project that I started in 2019, in which I addressed a difficult subject: man’s evil. Collective traumas are given form in my large-format drawings. The works shown at this exhibition have been shown previously at a number of individual exhibits, most recently at  Galerie Toolbox in Berlin. Now for the first time all of the drawings are on view as a distressing whole. I appreciate that I am dealing with a contemporary theme that is difficult and upsetting; indeed one that I would prefer to forget. In this connection I add a note of caution that the exhibition’s content may prove disturbing to some.

Why do I represent evil in my art? As a painter and theologian, whose special focus is ethics, I came to explore existential questions. In consider that mankind would do well to examine its own dark side. Under the appropriate conditions many entirely ordinary people have ended up coldly employing violence. War is a good example of this. The image of the enemy very quickly displaces consideration of the other as a fellow human being, with both parties to a conflict accusing each other of inexcusable misdeeds. In examining evil; I was also led to ask, ‘could that be me?’

The hope for justice is deeply rooted in humanity. Drawing the series of events filled with unfathomable evil, led me to the conclusion that many victims well never see justice. Accepting this fact seems almost unbearable. The subjects of my drawings leave me no peace. Perhaps this is precisely why I draw evil. Perhaps drawing is akin to prayer: ‘deliver us from evil’.

The exhibition comprises two series of drawings: Dies Irae—Day of Wrath and Music & Violence.

Dies Irae—Day of Wrath

Dies Irae, or ‘Day of Wrath’ in English, is the Latin name of the sequence for the requiem mass. The author is believed to have been the Franciscan monk Thomas of Celanola (1200–65). The first part of the text tells how all of mankind’s evil deeds will be revealed in the end and ‘nothing unavenged remaineth’. In the second half of the poem the perspective changes from vengeance to the author’s own sinfulness and the prayer, ‘guilty, now I pour my moaning, all my shame with anguish owning, spare, O God, Thy suppliant groaning!’ I have made a number of documentary ‘true crime’ drawings in which I depict human tragedies, the exploitation of children, terrorism, and the structures of violence. The subjects of the series include the teen murder in Koskela, Finland, 9/11, the massacre in Utøya, Norway, the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, the Crucifixion, and the truck attack on the Berlin Christmas market. The pencil drawings in this series measure 115 by 150 cm.

Music & Violence

Music is a peak of human civilization. Of all art forms music is perhaps the one that inspires emotions most powerfully. Music brings people joy and consolation; it makes them dance and smile. What would the world be without music? Yet, man’s evil side has appropriated even music and turned it into an instrument of violence. The thread running through the works are events in which music has been connected in one way or another to violence. The drawings in pencil in this series measure 37.5 by 55.5 cm.

Helsinki 21.12. 2022, Ilkka Sariola

Wed 11 Jan 2023 – 29 Jan 2023 12:00 – 16:00



Annankatu 12,
00120 Helsinki