Marko Turunen’s ADHD-Sheik (2016) uses 30 short animations to draw a portrait of a social outcast, a fundamentally smart and kind-hearted yet mentally unstable drug addict who has a tendency to commit immoral acts and find himself in troublesome situations. Brazen and shameless, Sheik lives in the moment, and his choices seldom find acceptance among his fellow citizens, not to mention the authorities. Difficulties keep piling up, and rarely without Sheik’s own fault.
The animations of ADHD-Sheik are based on true stories told to Turunen by an interviewee who has requested to remain anonymous. Turunen has known ‘the Sheik’ for over 20 years, and over the years he has puzzled over many things about the character. Questions that still remain unanswered include whether Sheik really has several children with female millionaires and if he has truly been a mercenary in Nigeria.
For an outsider, Sheik’s life seems brutal and absurd, and his chauvinist and deranged opinions could be described as politically incorrect to say the least. It is easy to laugh at the stories, but the reality behind them is often far from amusing. The ADHD-Sheik stories have also appeared as comic books. Three volumes of the four-part series have been published to date. The exhibition also includes Turunen’s drawings from 2015–2017.
Marko Turunen (b. 1973), also known by his pen-name Superturunen, is a visual artist, comics artist and illustrator. Currently living in Kotka, he graduated from the Turku Drawing School in 1997. The most prominent part of his output are comics that have won several awards and have been translated into French, German and Italian.
Artist talk on Thursday, 14 September at 2 pm at Kuvateatteri, Turku Arts Academy (Linnankatu 54). Marko Turunen talks about his work and artistic practice in Finnish. Free admission.