Expressing a Passion for Nature in Abstraction

Susanna Hernesniemi – Expressing a Passion for Nature in Abstraction


Susanna is an Australian-born Finnish artist who has lived with her husband in Penang since 2008. Born in Western Australia, she spent her early childhood out in a remote mining area outside Northampton. She reflects on her past, “When I was only four years of age, my family left the sub-tropical climate and moved to the north, back to their roots in the Finnish countryside. That is where I grew up, surrounded by intense gorgeous forests which since have deeply rooted into my mind as something special and precious which needs to be protected and taken care of.”

Susanna had always drawn from an early age and was fortunate to be taught by a famous Finnish artist Justus Sarisalo, who lived locally and he encouraged her to draw more. Since then, she has travelled and lived in many countries with her Danish husband whose work has taken him around the globe. When they lived in China where she held an exhibition entitled “Conservation of the Nature” in Beijing, in the famous arts zone known as 798, formerly a military factory. Saddened by the environmental pollution of China, she donated the proceeds to children whose health had suffered as a result of it.

She and her husband decided to settle in Penang because of the friendliness of the people, as well as the sea and the jungle. She particularly loves Penang Hill. “The trees are gorgeous and we trek there often, just being part of nature, thrilled by seeing a bird or a flying lemur.” She has made good links with the local artists of Penang, and is a member of the Penang Art Society. She has recently produced a book of her work. Her work is in the tradition of abstract expressionism, with deep, rich canvases that invite the viewer to create their own interpretation. She invites us to see the beauty and drama of our environment, to refl ect on being human, and to understand how we are
linked to nature.