“Songs of My Nature” Birch Boulevard Biennial 28.6.-31.7.2019, Iisalmi

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27.6.2019 0:00–31.7.2019 0:00

Sculptures along the entire length of the Pohjolankatu birch tree lane in Iisalmi! Europe's longest and most beautiful lane of birch trees is located in Pohjolankatu in Iisalmi. In the summer of 2019, the birch tree lane will be the venue for the second art exhibition consisting of works by nationally prominent sculptors. Iisalmi-born artist and Art Professor Kaarina Kaikkonen is the superintendent and curator of the exhibition, which is organized by the city of Iisalmi.

The works of the Songs of My Nature -exhibition reflect the artist's relationship with the nature that resides within the artist, that is, the source of creativity. This vision is being realized by artists Miina Äkkijyrkkä, Pauno Pohjolainen, Kerttu Horila, Radoslaw Gryta, Tapani Kokko, Essi Korva, William Dennisuk, Matti Kalkamo, and Taru Mäntynen.
– I called upon the sculptors, whose work I have appreciated over the years. Each one of them is an influential distinctive artist with a strong relationship with nature and the primal source of artistic expression, says Kaikkonen. 

The opening of the exhibition will be held on the 27th of June, and it is open from June 28th until July 31th, 2019. There is, of course, free access to the exhibit for everyone. The exhibition website will be opened at www.iisalmi.fi/koivukujabiennaali with material and pictures of artists and the works. The audience can participate in the exhibition by sharing photos and comments on social media with the hashtag #iisalmikoivukujabiennaali. The performance of the artist Tapani Kokko and his wife Virpi Kannon will be presented on a birch tree lane on the last day of the exhibition on July 31st.
– It is fantastic that we will once again have a high-quality art exhibition on the birch tree lane in Iisalmi. A huge thank you for this goes to Kaarina Kaikkonen. We hope that the exhibition will become a biennial tradition, says Sanna Marin, Head of Library and Cultural Services.


Miina Äkkijyrkkä (b. 1949 in Iisalmi) is the State Prize for Fine Arts winning sculptor known for her colourful cow sculptures that have been made by welding old car parts. Bovines have inspired Äkkijyrkä's art since childhood. She started drawing cows at the age of 3.

Pauno Pohjolainen (b. 1949 in Kuopio) is an Ars Fennica award-winning sculptor. Pohjolainen’s works are often abstract organic forms. In his sculptures, Pohjolainen studies the interaction between opposites and contrasts. The materials used in the sculptures include wood, fibre and epoxy resin, metal sheets, and nets.

Kerttu Horila (b. 1946 in Iisalmi) has become known for her playful ceramic and bronze sculptures featuring human figures. The aspects and situations associated with a woman's life are a central theme in her production.

Radoslaw Gryta (b. 1955 in Knasnik Lubelski, Poland) is a Polish-born Finnish sculptor who has been awarded the State Prize for Fine Arts. In Gryta's works, references to the nature of childhood are often repeated: oaks, lindens, bees, and grain. In his sculpture, he uses materials, like wood or. Since 1994, he has been Professor of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts.

Tapani Kokko (b. 1959 in Pudasjärvi). Kokko sculpts boisterous and humorously serious wood sculptures with a chainsaw. In the studio, after sanding, the surface of the sculptures are painted colourful with paint and crayons. Hormones and energies flow in Kokko’s art. His art has been influenced by South American folk art and ITE art. Kokko also stages performance art with his wife, Virpi Kanto.

Essi Korva (b. 1985 in Pello) is a sculptor living in Kolari, who carries out influential works on nature and humanity. The works build on the experience of the world and often deal with fear, childhood, loneliness, and emptiness. Korva has participated in several sculpturing and environmental events in Finland and abroad.

William Dennisuk (b. 1954 in Detroit) is an American-born artist, sculptor, and visual arts teacher, currently living in Imatra. He moved to Finland in 1982. Dennisuk has worked as a teacher at several art schools and has won environmental art competitions abroad. Dennisuk's works combine sculpture, landscape, and architecture. Art is Dennisuk's way of asking fundamental questions about the world where we live in.

Matti Kalkamo (b. 1968 in Tampere) was nominated for the Ars Fennica award in 2009. The works of Kalmula are steeped in a concern for humankind in a humorous manner. The works are like three-dimensional thoughts of being in a world where there are many sources for suffering. With his works, Kalkamo challenges the viewer's imagination, sense of humour, and world-view.

Taru Mäntynen (b. 1944 in Kärsämäki) sculptures draw inspiration from Kalevala, surrealism, and rock paintings. Mäntynen takes the viewer into the world of mythology. In his works of nature, the boundaries of man and animal are blurred, and the movement, dance, and ingenuity embedded in the sculptures embody deep emotions.

For more information:
Sanna Marin Kaarina Kaikkonen
Library and Cultural Services Manager Curator
City of Iisalmi Songs of My Nature exhibition
Tel. +358 40 588 9074 Tel. +358 40 574 9919
sanna.marin@iisalmi.fi kaarina_kaikkonen@hotmail.com