The opening speech by journalist Aurora Lemma at the opening of ”Waiting for the hidden garden to draw us – closer”, on April 6, 2019.

”I’m gonna tell you a story I wrote yesterday after visiting this exhibition. It might be a familiar one to you, or not.

Yesterday, as I sat in Alejandro’s room, I felt a familiar feeling. A memory not my own, but one that felt very real. So real I knew I could drown myself in it, and make it seem like my own. I could imagine sitting on a leather couch, with a mother or a grandmother, and in my mind I could hear what she sounded like. A voice echoed from another memory.

This is a feeling familiar to me. Of memories that aren’t really mine or ones that aren’t real at all. I remember, a few years back, standing by the grave of my own grandmother, whom I’ve never met. Because it took me 25 years to collect enough strenght to travel to a foreign country that is also my home.

Still, as I walked around her old house, I could imagine her. The sparkle in her eye, the laugh, the look in her eyes. Sometimes I like to imagine memories with her. Sometimes, they seem very real, and I can almost forget that they’re not. I sing her a song, a prelude to her journey, in a language she wouldn’t understand. I still hope she gets the message.

It’s the other way around here, for home. The memories are mine, of bonfires and snow in the winter. But they don’t feel mine, I don’t feel like I own them. Like I wasn’t there at all. Because when I look through these windows, I don’t see myself. So I look for other ways to be free.

A few days ago I felt the sun on my face for the longest time. It reminded me of another home. I stiched my skin together, of fake memories, and some real ones. Some languages I know, and others I sometimes pretend to understand. And sometimes it’s enough, listening to the sound of myself.”

Aurora Lemma at the opening of the exhibition ”Waiting for the hidden gardens to draw us — closer”. Image: Riitta Supperi