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Black Cat Kingdom


Walking through her local area one morning, Sari Soininen detoured through an unknown alleyway. On turning the corner, a gang of five black cats began running towards her. “I felt like I’d encountered a glitch in the Matrix” she said, “I began visiting these cats daily for a period of three months through the first lockdown of 2020. They gathered up into the same alleyway every morning. I brought them food and played with them.”

Using flash with colour gels, Soininen transforms the cats into colourful, otherworldly creatures inhabiting a fever dream.
The black cat is a rich folkloric and superstitious symbol across many cultures, and in this project they are treated as such. To the Celts, black cats were sacred; the ancient Egyptians worshipped the Goddess Bastet, who was depicted as a black cat; and black cats are repeatedly referenced in pop culture and cinema, such as The Matrix.

Black Cat Kingdom was published as a book
 to coincide with Soininen’s first major solo exhibition at the Lahti Museum of Visual Arts Malva, Finland in November 2023. The format of the book is labyrinthine. A surreal and winding journey through multiple sections and gatefolds, overlapping to create a concertina-like structure. The book reveals itself in new ways upon each viewing.

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