CV - Elina Aho, b. 1981 Finland, lives and works in Helsinki, visual artist and psychologist, visual art, art pedagogy and art-led organizational development;  portfolio:, email:, instagram: elinaahostudio

Elina Aho-Brennan´s (b. 1981) paintings and drawings take the viewer to the embodied experience of the world and the body. She researches the embodiment of emotions, the perception of movement and the physicality of painting and drawing in her artistic practice. Her multifaceted background in the arts, psychology, neuroscience and movement practices give innate depth to her work. She works both in drawing with self-invented charcoal tools, pencil and ink, and in painting (oil on paper and canvas, and mixed media works). She is very interested in the perceiving and experiencing part of the human psyche, and the body and mind- connection. Her abstracted paintings of the lived, bodily experience is represented simultaneously, side by side, with drawings of the human body and movement. She works with professional dancers while drawing the human body and movement.

In her art works she strives to attack the canvas with embodied energy, sometimes soft and delicate, sometimes more aggressive and physical, while being very much in the present moment and the action of painting becoming like free association. She is also striving to obtain a very direct, physical, almost raw sense of human experience. She is interested in portraying the life forces in the canvases and her works can be felt via their tactile and material qualities, full of life, even erotic forces, and aggression.

Elina has graduated from the prestigious Glasgow School of Art in 2012 with Merit (Master´s Degree in Fine Art Practice, Painting) and she has held numerous solo and group exhibitions in Finland, UK, and USA. Furthermore, she has worked in collaboration with professionals from contemporary dance, physical theatre and sound art in her innovative live drawing performances. She has been also curating both local and international exhibitions and creating an artist-led gallery space (Art Lab Viiskulma, Helsinki). Elina´s artistic practice has also formed through artist residencies abroad, at School of Visual Arts in New York (2011), Triangle Residency in Brooklyn (2015), and Royal College of Arts in London (2017). Her teaching expertise is strong and vast, with current teaching practice at The University of the Arts Helsinki and Critical Academy Helsinki. She has also worked with multiple organizations and multidisciplinary projects as an artist or a facilitator, to name a few: City of Helsinki Executive Office Young Artist 2014-2015, Climate.Now-project 2015-2016, Helsinki City Museum and Drawing D5 Gallery Embodied City- community art project 2015-2017. She has also been coaching artists and students in their work life skills, currently in collaboration with Kaakon Taide, University of the Arts Helsinki and University of Helsinki.



2015 Post-Degree Specialization Studies (30 credits), Artistic Interventions in Organizations, University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland

2012 Master in Fine Art, Painting with Merit,The Glasgow School of Art, UK

2006 Master of Psychology, University of Helsinki


Further education

2017-2020 Specialization in Expressive Art Therapies, Eino Roiha Institute

2017 Hatha Yoga Teacher Qualification

2011-2012 Specialization in Dance-Movement Therapy – one-year foundation course in psychotherapeutic body and movement work, Eino Roiha Institute

2009-2011 Theatre Academy, Univertsity of the Arts, Helsinki: short courses: Awareness Perception

Presence; Gestures - Translating the mind; Bodyschool; Advanced improvisation and somatics; Movers & Witnesses; Exploring Arts for a social change

2008-2009 University of Art and Design, Helsinki; Museums as Artistic Medium

2008 The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, Summer School – Painting

2006-2010 Critical Academy Art School, Drawing, Painting, Critic Workshop, courses



2017 Fine Art Summer Residency, Royal College of Art, London

2016 Ars Bioarctica, Kilpisjärvi, Finland, Finnish Bioart Society

2015 Triangle Arts Association/ Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, funded by Finnish Cultural Foundation

2015 Helsinki city Transport company,

2011 Summer residency - School of Visual arts, New York


Solo exhibitions

2018 Galleria Katariinan Studio, Helsinki

Galleria Aarni, Espoo

Galleria Napa, Rovaniemi

2017 Keholataamo, Helsinki

Lauttasaaren kirkkokahvila, Helsinki

2016 OHO Gallery, Helsinki

Galleria Malmitalo, Helsinki

Linnoituksen krouvi, Lappeenranta, Finland

2015 Kotkankadun Suoja-Pirtti, Shelter Home for Homeless, Encounters - Memories - Portrait Project 2014 Galleria Jangva, Helsinki, Finland, Extended Body - Gesture, Action, Trace

2013 Drawing Gallery D5, Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki, Corporealities

00130Gallery Project Room, Helsinki, Extended Body - Gesture, Action, Trace

2012 Helsinki City Hall, Helsinki, Your Body Speaks

2011 Rööperin Taidesalonki, Art Salon Rööperi, Helsinki Embodied Painting

Gallery Nax-et, Helsinki Tangible

2010 Galerie Oljemark, Helsinki Body/images

Kulmagalleria, Helsinki, Bodily perceptions

2009 Linnoituksen krouvi, Encounters, Lappeenranta, Finland

Galerie oljemark, Identity, Helsinki

2007 cable gallery, c2-gallery and restaurant Hima & Sali, Helsinki



2017 Life drawing meets contemporary dance, collaboration with dancer Laura Pietiläinen, Encounters-Festival @Asematila- Gallery

2016 Routes of Helsinki/ Sound Landscapes, Young Artists-Series, Helsinki Music Hall, Aug. 4th

2015 Routes of Helsinki/ Sound Landscapes, Virka-Galleria, Night of the Arts, 20.8.2015

2014 Routes of Helsinki/ Sound Landscapes, Taideyliopiston kontti, 7.-8.12.2014

2014 Design of Trace, concept planning, multidisciplinary performance project, performer, Taidelaboratorio Viiskulma Helsinki and Lenkkiteatteri, granted by Helsingin kulttuurikeskus, 7 performances, choreography: Jenni Sainio

2013 Body Moving – Painting in Action, multidisciplinary performance project, performer, 4 performances, choreography: Jenni Sainio

2012 Role in short lm ’Sharkey ́s’ by Beth Shapeero, Glasgow, UK

2010 Performer in Yhdessä / Together, Nine dance performances, Zodiak – Centre for New Dance choreography: Eeva Muilu



2017 Play & Love, Galleria Pato, Kuusankoski

Arteground Art Festival, Viljandi City Gallery, Estonia

2016 Lapinlahti Gallery, Helsinki “On embodiment”

Kuja Bar & Bistro, Helsinki, with Nina Iso-Herttua ja Minna-Karoliina Heino

oFFLINE @The Central Booking, New York City, “No Toxic Factor”

Art Lab Viiskulma Helsinki, collaboration with Winston Lee Mascarenhas and Glasgow School of Art

2015 Helsinki City Museum, Sofiankatu (collaboration with musician Mikko H.Haapoja) Embodied City Art Fair Suomi 2015

Open Studio Exhibition, Triangle arts association, Brooklyn, NYC, Embodied City

Taidelinja, The Art Line/ Helsinki City Transport, cross-disciplinary exhibition

2014 Library 10, Helsinki, Finland

Kuusankosken Taideruukki, Kuusankoski, Finland, On womanhood

Aho-Lindén-Sainio: Metamorphosis, Taidelaboratorio Viiskulma, Helsinki, Finland

Arteground Art Festival, Viljandi City Gallery, Estonia

2013 Erotus +/- US, The Glue Factory, Glasgow, UK

2012 Master of Letters Group Show, Exchange Project with MFA Students AALTO University, Helsinki, Mediakeskus Lume

Master of Letters Degree Show, The Bermondsey Project, London

The Graduate Degree Show 2012

The Lighthouse, Centre for Design and Architecture, Glasgow

Master of Letters Degree Show, Mackintosh Building, Glasgow

AFTERWARDNESS, Garage Space, Barnes Building, Glasgow

Print Portfolio Project, Mackintosh Building, Glasgow School of Arts, Glasgow

Masters of Letters Painting Exhibition, Mackintosh Building Studio 48, Glasgow

Guest curated show by Hazel Blake/ The Open Show at Inc Tank, Edinburgh

2011 Christmas Exhibition, Art Salon rööperi, Helsinki

Open Studio Exhibition, School of Visual arts, New York City

Ruoholahti Metro Station, Helsinki

2010 Itäkeskus Psychiatric Clinic, Helsinki

Galeria do Palácio, II Finland-Portugal Art Festival, juried exhibition, Porto, Portugal

2009 Gallery SYKE, Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki

Galerie Oljemark summer exhibition, Jokelan kartano, Hämeenkoski, Finland

Cafe & Bar Vanhan kuppila, Helsinki

Ruoholahti Metro Station, Helsinki

Helsinki City Museum, Sofiankatu, Helsinki, Recharged collections

Nordea Window gallery, Helsinki

2008 ABB, Helsinki

Gallery SYKE, Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki

2007 Nordea Window gallery, Helsinki Folkhälsan Senior House, Helsinki



2017 Embodied city II, directing the making of the collective work of art, Drawing D5 Gallery, Helsinki 2015 Embodied City, directing the making of the collective work of art, Helsinki City Museum, Sofiankatu

2014 The Bigger Picture, collective painting, GE Health Care Village



2013-2018 Kriittinen korkeakoulu and Otavan opisto – Ruumiinkuvia/ Corporealities, developing and teaching a further education course aimed at art professionals and art therapists, main themes: corporeality, movement and drawing, life drawing, mark-making, self-portrait, movement workshop, experimental workshop, lectures, critiques

2018 Portait Now-course, Critical Academy

2017 Visiting Lecturer, Tevere/ HY +, art-led workshop

2016-2017 Visiting Lecturer at Theatre Academy, University of the Art, Corporealities-art course

2016 Panelist at Science Corner/ Tiedekulma, Helsinki on Climate Change

2015-2016 University of Helsinki & SITRA, developing pedagogies on climate change

2015 Helsinki City Museum, visual artist/ developing and leading a community art project, August-September

2015 Sibelius Academy, The University of the Arts, Helsinki; visiting lecturer

2015 Theatre academy, The university of the arts, speaker at the seminar, 2 workshops

2014 Helsinki City Executive Office, Helsinki Creates Work-project, visual artist, developing artistic methods in promoting well-being of the citizens, working in organizations, development projects, urban city planning, 6 months

2014 Art School Maa Ruumiinkuvia –Corporealities – workshops for 1st year students, visiting lecturer

2013 Lenkkiteatteri, Free Professional Theatre, Fine Art Meets Urban Art Revolution! Workshop aimed at Art Professionalsls

2012 Your Body Speaks-seminar Lecturer

2011 Art workshop for the elderly, 10 sessions, Kantti ry

2006-2008 Hepsy ry, writing articles on art and well-being


Works of art in collections

British airways – Glasgow Airport Business Lounge, Double Effect Kiss Cool

Elävän musiikin yhdistys ry – Live Music Association of Finland,

Private collections in Europe



Elina Aho (2015). Jaettuja jälkiä - kuvataiteilijana organisaatiossa. antologia-julkaisu, Teatterikorkeakoulu.

Elina Aho (2015). Routes of Helsinki and Sound Landscapes, IsuueX (University of the Arts-Magazine), cover photo and article

Elina Aho (2012). Extended Body – Gesture, Action, Trace. Book-on-demand from

Aho (2012) Corporealities. Psychoanalytic works and writing from the body. Book-on-demand from

Elina Aho (2012). Art and corporeality - Your Body Speaks.



Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, introduction:

YLE radio 1: Haastattelu sarjaan Tekijä - kulttuuriohjelma uuden sukupolven huipuista. Julkaisupäivä 7.1.2015, haastattelija Tiina Harpf.

Installation of video work (performative drawings) featured in GSA annual e-card, directed by Craig Kirk, 2012, The Glasgow School of Art

Ruxandra Balboa-Pöysti: Elina Aho – Body parts freed by movement, inner history and intuition. Meet the Artists- blog, history-and-intuition/. Publication.


GRANTS Helsinki Cultural Center, Moving Art-Project 2014, Finnish Cultural Foundation/ Finnish Cultural Institute, 2015


Other interests

contemporary dance, psychoanalysis, art and science, nature