Aksel Haagensen

Going Home


In the 1980s, an Estonian refugee in Australia designed the Senta Silla series of fabrics, which combined the Nordic, Marimekko style with Australian nature motifs. Growing up in Australia, the artist grew up with these fabrics around him. It wasn’t until twenty years later that he discovered that his own grandmother had designed these fabrics: Senta Silla was her designer name. Haagensen sees the fragmentation of his identity in the fabrics – part Estonian (or at least Nordic), part Australian. As an Estonian émigré, the artist is considered a so-called “non-real Estonian,” both in his eyes as well as in the eyes of others. The Australian nature of the artist’s childhood disappears into the flames of oblivion after many years of living in Estonia, while disappearing into real flames due to the climate crisis in Australia.