A morning meeting with the Princess of Jordan – this is how light artist Kari Kola’s workday typically starts. The princess is fascinated by the Joensuu artist’s idea for the largest installation in the world, which would draw attention to the city of Petra of cultural historical importance. Light and attention are needed to save the UNESCO World Heritage Site from destruction.

– I do not tend to bow down to authority. To me, people are equal from ordinary folk to kings and billionaires, says Kari Kola, drinking his morning coffee and stroking his beard.

To Kola, Joensuu is the most important place on Earth. A source of inspiration. Clean nature, peace and safety are the cornerstones of life and creativity. In quiet darkness, the artist’s vivid imagination is continuously brewing something new. Amazing worldwide networks are within easy reach.

Frenzy and insight

In 2015, Kola executed light art to UNESCO’s Headquarters, simply for his love for light and frenzy to do art. Nobody invited the artist from Joensuu to Paris: Kola himself realised that the International Year of Light was about to start without light. The massive project was spot on, and it turned Kari Kola into an international light phenomenon.

To me, people are equal from ordinary folk to kings and billionaires

Thereafter, the light artist has left his traces on various locations and countries from Stonehenge to the fell Saana, from operas to festivals and from bridges to capitals of culture. Many projects have involved a large team. For instance, in 2014, the Nordic cultural festival Nordic Light culminated in a spectacle on Ilosaari, Joensuu.

– There were 120 young people from all the Nordic countries and Greenland, Faro Isles and Svalbard on Ilosaari island. It was a fantastic art project!

Light and dark

To Kari Kola, darkness is an opportunity, and light is at the heart of everything. Light is connected to everything. Light is multi-level, concrete and symbolic. Nobody knows everything there is to know about light. To Kola, light means art, but also wave lengths, energy, space technology, telecommunication, medicine, politics.

– Yes, also politics. Think about Africa. Each person living on the continent could be provided with a light source with two billion euros. Children would have light, they would be able to read, study, see in the dark. Considering the scale, the price is very low.

Light makes you visible

UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Jordanian Princess Dana Firas is showered with proposals about different cooperation projects. So far, the princess has declined over one hundred ideas. Her Royal Highness is, however, very interested in the ideas of the Joensuu artist.

– I have proposed to place the world’s largest light installation in the Holy City of Petra. The focus is on preserving cultural heritage. If we do not do anything for Petra, the whole site will not be there in 25 years’ time.

The city of Petra was established in the 6th century BC, and it is ardently waiting to be rescued and touched by the empowering force of Joensuu light.