Espoo Museum of Modern Art

New mural completed in Länsiväylä underpass by artist Yamahamay and students from Tiistilä School

Yamahamay, Dreams of Teen Galaxies, 2024. EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art Collection. © Ari Karttunen / EMMA
Yamahamay, Dreams of Teen Galaxies, 2024. EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art Collection. © Ari Karttunen / EMMA

A fantasy world of wondrous creatures awaits visitors in the underpass connecting Kuitinmäki and Tynnyripuisto Park. Yamahamay's Dreams of Teen Galaxies is the third public artwork curated by EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art as part of the Matinkylä Art Tunnels project. The project is a collaboration between EMMA, the Matinkylä Society, and the City of Espoo Urban Environment Sector and Culture Unit, highlighting the important role played by public art in the beautification of urban spaces.

The Matinkylä Art Tunnels project was initiated by the Matinkylä Society to brighten up the neighbourhood’s dark underpass tunnels and to enhance people’s feeling of safety with the help of art. EMMA is curating a series of public artworks supporting the identity of each neighbourhood, featuring artists who work across various materials and media. The intention was to involve local school students in the process of creating the mural for the long Länsiväylä underpass. The chosen artist was Yamahamay, who is known for her street art and participatory projects, especially with young people.

The sticker-like characters adventuring in Dreams of Teen Galaxies were created by ninth-grade elective art students in workshops led by Yamahamay and the school’s art teacher Senja Valo in 2023.

Yamahamay, Dreams of Teen Galaxies, 2024. EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art Collection. © Ari Karttunen / EMMA

“Stickers are a typical form of expression and communication medium for street artists. Artists have been using them for decades to spread their ideas. In our workshops, we wanted to emulate the aesthetic style of sticker sheets and the gaming world. The students were invited to design their own characters and fantasy worlds, and they were asked to include something about themselves in their drawings,” describes Yamahamay. “The group was really clever and creative! The characters in the underpass are my free interpretations of the figures created by the students in the workshops.”

“Working with the artist was a very special experience for the students. Speaking as a teacher, I appreciated how the young participants gained insights into the stages of executing a real-life art project. Working together also strengthened the group’s teamwork skills and their shared sense of responsibility for the project’s success,” describes Senja Valo.

Yamahamay, 2024 © Ari Karttunen / EMMA

Yamahamay is known for her colourful and playful street art. Her imagery draws inspiration from gaming and cartoon characters from her childhood, as well as from mysticism and her experiences as a synesthete. Dreams of Teen Galaxies is based on the characters and colour schemes conceived by the students involved in the project. Yamahamay spent two weeks finalizing the mural by painting galaxy clouds and swirls combining spray paint and brushwork. The galaxy is inhabited by playful figures adapted from the students’ original drawings and printed on aluminium composite sheets.

The Matinkylä Art Tunnels project forms part of a wider project aiming to revitalize the Matinkylä neighbourhood and enhance its residential appeal. A total of three art tunnels have been completed to date: Kati Immonen’s watercolour-based Monument on Viljonpolku, Laura Pehkonen’s ceramic mural Domino in Nuottaniemi tunnel, and now Yamahamay’s multi-media mural Dreams of Teen Galaxies near Tynnyripuisto Park. The next art tunnel is scheduled for completion in 2025.

New works of public art in Matinkylä's underpass tunnels

New works of public art by Kati Immonen and Laura Pehkonen decorate the walls of two underpass tunnels in the Espoo district of Matinkylä.

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