Born in 1953, lives and works in Helsinki.
Roi Vaara is one of the most internationally recognized performance artists in Scandinavia. He was born in 1953 in Moss, Norway, but grew up in Helsinki, Finland, where he has caused constant controversy in the art world and cultural life since the early 1980s.
His critical point of view is not to attract public sensation but to challenge the way we are looking at things. He studied in the University of Art and Design 1972—75 in Helsinki and art research in Jyväskylä University 1976—77 in Finland. Vaara has made performances since 1982. He is one of the founders of Muu ry (1987), an association for cross art in Finland and the initiator and one of the founders of IAPAO (International Association of Performance Art Organizers) in Essen, Germany, 2003.
Since 1988, Vaara is a member of Black Market International (BMI), whose work proposes performance art as a simultaneous form of communication. Vaara was in Künstlerhaus Bethanien’s international atelierprogramm in 1997—1998 in Berlin, Germany.
He has organized and curated performance events of which "Poikkeustila" festival was the first nation wide performance art festival in Finland in 1999. “Exit” festival, which Vaara organized in 2001 in Helsinki became known as the “Woodstock” festival of performance art with its 300 artists from 34 countries. Vaara has presented until now more than 300 different performances, that has taken place in more than 200 international exhibitions/festivals in 36 countries, among other things, also in Kassel dokumenta, Germany (1993), EXPO 2000 World Exhibition, Hannover, Germany Venice Biennal, Italy (2001, 2005), Havana Biennal (2004), and Manifesta 5, San Sebastian, Spain (2004). Vaara has been a visiting lecturer/ teacher around the globe. Vaara has been granted with a state award from Arts Council of Finland in 2000 and the Ars Fennica Prize in 2005.
Roi Vaara. The weight of life. Venice Biennial. 2001.