PhosFATE research group
PhosFATE is an artistic research project by Pekka Niskanen and Mohamed Sleiman Labat funded by Finnish Kone foundation and several other foundations. The project follows the multi-layered story of phosphate in the Baltic region as well as in the Sahrawi refugee camps in the Hamada Desert, southwest Algeria. In the project they film, discuss and research about the different aspects of phosphate. They created an experimental small scale family garden in Helsinki paralleling the family garden phenomena in the desert. The artists use the garden as a meeting point to develop research questions and topics.
Pekka Niskanen is a Helsinki and Paris based media artist, filmmaker, researcher, and a Doctor of Fine Arts. He has been exhibiting since 1990 in museums, galleries and film festivals around Europe, North America and Asia. His dissertation in University of the Arts Helsinki is titled Art in the Construction of Identity Politics (2014). He has curated exhibitions in Finland and abroad. Niskanen has worked as a director of several community art film and video projects.
Sleiman Labat is a visual artist and a poet from the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria. He was born and raised in these camps. In 2016, after graduating from Batna University with a degree in English literature, Sleiman Labat went back to his community. Sleiman Labat has built a multipurpose community and artist studio space Motif Art Studio in Samara camp. The studio itself is built from discarded materials that Sleiman Labat has collected.