My Oulu: 60-year-old Oulu Museum of Art focuses on regional art and previously unknown women artists

Oulu Museum of Art has been in its current location since 1990. Photo: Esa Eirola


Julkaistu: Kirjoittaja: Pasi Rytinki

Jaa sosiaalisessa mediassa:

The exhibition programme consists of four solo exhibitions and two themed exhibitions.

The year begins with local visual art as sculptor Riitta-Alina Helevä (1951–) presents her life’s work in the downstairs galleries of the museum. She is accompanied by an exhibition focusing on art by her great-uncle, the Oulu-based visual artist Martti Tarvainen (1897–1985).

Through her career that has spanned four decades, the works of Oulu-based sculptor Riitta-Alina Helevä have been based on the landscape. The artist who works in Pikisaari, Oulu, speaks of her career as a path that always leads somewhere, but also makes one lose one’s way at times.

In 1986, Riitta-Alina Helevä was awarded the State Prize for Fine Arts for her work in renewing landscape sculpture. The extensive exhibition of the artist’s entire career brings together her output from the 1970s to the present day and from sculptures to the world of installations.

Martti Tarvainen, a sculptor and painter who worked in Tuira, Oulu from the early 1930s to the 1980s, produced several public works yet never held a solo exhibition in the art museum of his hometown during his lifetime. The exhibition of Tarvainen’s life’s work opening in February focuses on his paintings, especially urban landscapes and natural environments near waterways.

Women in focus

At the end of February, a new exhibition named Will and Skill opens in the upstairs galleries, focusing on the work of women artists who were active in North Ostrobothnia in the early 20th century. In 2017, Oulu Museum of Art initiated a survey of early professionally trained women artists of the region, many of whom have remained unknown to the general public.

Will and Skill – Artist Women of the Early 20th Century builds on the knowledge accumulated in the project and opens up insights into the output and the lives of women artists in North Ostrobothnia. Artists featured in the exhibition are Karoliina Otava (1901–1990), Olga Nordström (1902–1981), Laila Karttunen (1895–1981), Lyyli Kaurila (1896–1987), Hilja Tolvanen (1879–1959), and Hilja Palomäki (1902–1994). The exhibition has been produced in collaboration with the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum.

In March, Oulu Museum of Art will collaborate with the New Theatre Pop Up event by presenting a video installation entitled The Cleaners in the Satula space.

In the summer season, the art museum will showcase national art treasures when a new exhibition named The Seasons In Us, curated from the collections of the Association of Finnish Fine Art Foundations and running until January 2024, opens in mid-June.

In the autumn season, the downstairs galleries will host simultaneous solo exhibitions by printmaking artist and watercolourist Marjatta Hanhijoki and sound artist Jaakko Autio.

The special year celebrating the 60-year-old museum will also include a number of events and surprises announced later.


Exhibitions and installations in 2023:

  • 11 February – 6 August 2023 Riitta-Alina Helevä: My Song
  • 11 February – 6 August 2023 Martti Tarvainen (1897–1985): To See and to Experience
  • 25 February – 28 May 2023 Will and Skill – Artist Women of the Early 20th Century
  • 7–19 March 2023 The Cleaners
  • 17 June ¬2023 – 7 January 2024 The Seasons in Us – Works from the Collections of the Association of Finnish Fine Art Foundations
  • 24 August – 26 November 2023 Marjatta Hanhijoki: Aino and Reetu: Visibly So 3
  • 24 August – 26 November 2023 Jaakko Autio: Owla