2022, Installation.

The Culture of the Female Bear is a fictional section of a museum, showcasing a Bronze Age people and its culture. Its social order was matriarchal and animistic, and it was horizontally organized, like direct democracy.


The installation includes a variety of elements, such as imaginary archeological findings, the
people’s reconstructed ritual items and pictures of rock paintings. They give a picture of the
social order, beliefs and rituals related to the culture. The items were found in an area
belonging to the municipality of Hiitola, now part of Russia.

The Culture of the Female Bear is a utopia taking place in history. There is little information
about the Bronze Age in Finland, and not many items are left from that era. Differences
related to one’s social status existed in the Stone Age, but it is considered that more
significant social stratification occurred in the Bronze Age when many communities
developed into chiefdoms.

However, there were remarkable differences in lifestyles, the level of organization and hierarchical structures between communities and areas.
The Culture of the Female Bear is an exception to the assumed historical development and a
mental journey to a period before Christian patriarchy, dualistic and hierarchical views, maps and violent male leaders.

Casting of the bronze sculptures: Suvi Forssén

Photos of Broze Age graves: Teija Tiitinen, Arkeologian kuvakokoelma, Digikuvakokoelma, Museovirasto

Special thanks: Suvi Forssén, Sade Hiidenkari, Olli Hopia, Raimo Jaatinen ja Hannakaisa Oksanen

Funding: The Finnish Cultural Foundation, Oskar Öflunds Stiftelse sr