The publication Objects Collecting People, edited by Kristina Tohmo, Johanna Perheentupa and Matt Poll, is based on a project by the Helinä Rautavaara museum. It documents a rare encounter between cultural objects, the heirs of their original owners and creators, and two museums.
The storyline follows the journey of these objects collected by missionary Oskar Liebler, who worked in Hermannsburg in central Australia in the early 20th century. Liebler collected approximately 2000 cultural objects from local First Nations communities, among which were the Arrernte Peoples. A part of his collection ended up in Finland.
A hundred years later, in June 2018, two members of the Arrernte community, Lofty Katakarinja and Shaun Angeles, travelled to Finland to learn about the extent of their cultural footprint now in the northern hemisphere, reuniting the objects with people who are their cultural inheritors.
The project involved several partners: the National Museum of Finland, the Strehlow Research Centre, the University of Sydney and the Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit, UNSW, and was implemented with the support of the Kone Foundation.