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Seagull by Villu Jaanisoo points up Helsinki’s maritime location

7.6.2018 9:22

A new denizen of Helsinki will alight on the ledge at the north end of Tennis Palace on Helsinki Day, 12 June 2018. Artist Villu Jaanisoo’s Seagull is a portrait of the tenacious and alert bird that has adapted to life in the Finnish capital. The fibreglass figure is over six metres tall. Commissioned by Helsinki Art Museum, it inaugurates a new series of changing works on the ledge over the entrance to the Tennis Palace. The work will remain in place for the time being, and may eventually be transferred to another location in Helsinki. The Seagull will brighten up the north end of the building and serve as a landmark to announce HAM’s presence.

The unveiling of Seagull will be part of the Lokki Block Party on Helsinki Day. The work will be unveiled by Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori at 16:15. Lokki Block Party will provide programme in the spirit of HAM’s Graffiti exhibition from 14:30–17:30. The programme also includes a Supafly street art workshop in HAM Corner, and performances by rap artists Asa, Haamu and AK. The event will be hosted by Renaz Ebrahimi, and dance music will be played by DJ SHY GRL.

Estonian-born Villu Jaanisoo (b. 1963) has been professor at the Academy of Fine Arts since 2009. A bold reformer of the tradition of sculpture, Jaanisoo’s expressive public artworks are famous for their innovative use of materials. His public works in Helsinki include Siberian Jay in Kalasatama, which belongs to HAM’s collection, and Everything Is Possible, a large gorilla made of used car tyres that was destroyed in spring 2018. The gorilla piece belonged to the State Art Collection.

Natural motifs, recognisable animals in particular, are typical element in Jaanisoo’s art. “I create art of the things I see,” he says. He is also masterful in the use of materials and form in a monumental scale. “I usually make a scale model first, although everything works better in a large scale. I like creating large works of art. You get immersed in the process so that you forget all your troubles.”