Saara Lehto

Science Education Coordinator
LUMA Centre Finland / University of Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland

As a mathematician and as an artist, I enjoy actualization of abstract ideas (or their shadows) into physical forms by creating, inhabiting or experiencing the ideas inside myself or through what I am doing.

In my drawings of mathematical animals I strive to depict mathematical ideas as sympathetic, cute and approachable; the way they feel to me. For a mathematician, mathematical concepts have personalities, they are old friends or beloved pets with quirks and cherished features. They are given pet names and they encompass a big part of our hopes and our dreams. In our thoughts they create entire worlds of their own.

Photo of artwork by Antti Rintala.

Animalia Mathematica, Ordo Fractalia
Animalia Mathematica, Ordo Fractalia
84 x 70 cm
Ink and coloured pencil on paper

An old school poster from the universe of mathematical animals depicting four species of the order of fractal animals (Ordo Fractalia).

The fractail fox is a small mountain fox easily recognized by it's fluffy and soft fractal tail. With brightly coloured fractally arranged feathers, the self-similark flies in the fractal formation typical for all migrating fractal birds. The recursquid is a deep sea squid of modular type. Fractalogists debate whether it's sub tentacles live in symbiosis or whether the entire squid squad forms a hive-like structure with a joint consciousness. The fracturtle is a long-lived fractal reptile. It carries its young on its back until it dies and its four hatchlings first start a life of their own.