Espoo Museum of Modern Art
Public art on the new light rail line
The Helsinki Metropolitan Area launched its first light rail line on Saturday, October 21, 2023. The Espoo leg of the route features public artworks curated by EMMA. The newest piece to be unveiled is Jenni Tieaho’s My Sweet Horsey! at Vermo Arena.
Passengers on light rail line 15 can now admire My Sweet Horsey! by Jenni Tieaho as they pass the racetrack. The piece consists of nine aluminium composite plates presenting photographs of the artist’s horse-themed sculptures from the past two decades. The photographs were adapted into panels in collaboration with light artist Pekka Järvilehto.
Jenni Tieaho (b. 1969) is a sculptor and environmental artist whose subjects and materials are inspired by nature, especially Finnish forests. The materials she uses in her large-scale sculptures include woolly willow, birch bark and various plant parts. Tieaho was selected for the commission by representatives of EMMA, the Espoo Public Works Department and Vermo Arena.
“As the creator of countless wonderful horse sculptures made of varied organic materials over the years, Jenni Tieaho was a natural choice for the racetrack commission. The chosen site is the exterior fencing of Vermo Arena, which is now decorated with photographs of Jenni’s past sculptures,” describes EMMA’s chief curator Henna Paunu.
“We at Vermo Arena are delighted to have had this opportunity to renew the racetrack’s rear fencing in collaboration with the City of Espoo. The horse-themed art and the open line of sight into the racetrack are perfect marketing for Vermo Arena. Light rail passengers and other passers-by alike can now enjoy the sight of real horses alongside their high-quality artistic representations,” notes Pertti Koskenniemi CEO of Vermo Arena.
Public art on light rail line 15
Four works of public art curated by EMMA are currently on display along the light rail line. The new piece My Sweet Horsey! by Jenni Tieaho is located between the Vermo and Perkkaa stops. Two other works were completed in October 2022 as part of the per cent for art scheme commissioned for the Espoo leg of the light rail route by the City of Espoo PAAF (Public Arts Agency Finland): As the Bird Flies by Armi Teva at the Otaranta stop and Sheltered by Rhododendrons by Kati Immonen at the Laajalahti stop. In addition, Lippumeri (Sea of Flags) by Gerda Huijbers – a community piece originally completed in Leppävaara in 2003 – has been renewed and relocated alongside the Alberga Esplanade stop.
Otaranta | Armi Teva, As the Bird Flies (2022)
As the Bird Flies by Armi Teva (b. 1992) decorates the Otaranta stop in Otaniemi. The stop is located near the Kivimies daycare centre, where the same artist completed a nature-themed group of interior works in 2018. Designed especially for children, As the Bird Flies is thematically linked to its companion piece at the daycare centre.
Armi Teva graduated from Aalto University and she is currently engaged in the fields of public art, illustration and ceramics. The content of As the Bird Flies celebrates two things that are important to Espoo: nature and the sea. The piece features numerous illustrations of plants, animals and maritime motifs composed as a collage of varied materials, such as pastels, cardboard cut-outs and digital vector illustrations.
Laajalahti | Kati Immonen, Sheltered by Rhododendrons (2022)
Sheltered by Rhododendrons by Kati Immonen (b. 1971) is a mural located at the Laajalahti stop. The rhododendron bushes framing the composition are linked to the Anja Pankasalo Rhododendron Park in the woodlands next to the stop. Pankasalo was a well-known public figure from the suburb of Laajalahti who exerted a long-standing influence in local politics.
Scenes illustrating the history of Laajalahti are framed inside and alongside the rhododendrons in the mural. The images are based on local residents’ memories and experiences and the artist’s research into the 70th anniversary publication of the Laajalahti society. When the mural was being designed, a residents’ meeting was convened at EMMA where Immonen described her plans and invited residents to share their reminiscences. The mural portrays scenes such as local picknickers seated on the leaves of the rhododendrons alongside famous local animals peeking from the shade of the bushes.
Vermo Arena | Jenni Tieaho, My Sweet Horsey! (2023)
My Sweet Horsey! by Jenni Tieaho decorates the fencing of the Vermo racetrack between the Perkkaa and Vermo stops. The piece consists of nine aluminium composite plates presenting photographs of the artist’s horse-themed sculptures from the past two decades. Tieaho is an artist who draws inspiration from nature, especially Finnish forests, and she uses organic materials such as woolly willow, birch bark and various plant parts in her sculptures. The horse-themed photographs were adapted and integrated into the setting as a collaboration effort between Tieaho and light artist Pekka Järvilehto. The artist was selected for this commission by representatives of EMMA, Vermo Arena and the City of Espoo.
Tieaho wanted a title that would evoke a sense of familiarity. My Sweet Horsey! (Hummani hei in Finnish) refers to the well-known 1953 song Juokse sinä humma performed by Tapio Rautavaara. The song is Rautavaara’s adapted version of a folk tune.
Alberga Esplanade | Germa Huijbers, Sea of Flags (2003–2023)
Sea of Flags is a community piece originally created for Leppävaara in 2003 by the Dutch artist Germa Huijbers (b. 1967). It consists of a group of flagpoles and a collection of fluttering flags designed by the artist and various local residents over the years. The work has recently been refreshed and relocated to the end of Alberga Esplanade in conjunction with the light rail line project.
The concept of Sea of Flags is based on communality and change. Its visual identity is intended to evolve in step with changing times through the addition of new flags designed by various local groups such as schools, cultural societies and residents’ associations. The flags were last renewed in 2018 when textile artist Greta Muuri held a series of workshops with the residents of the Leppävaara senior centre, who designed new flags around the themes of summer memories, love, joy and happiness.