HAM’s art and collections can be enjoyed in many ways online and in the city as well!

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Rut Bryk: City in the Sun / Photo: HAM/Hanna Kukorelli

Art tours of the City Hall

Join us on art tours of City Hall’s open and restricted facilities. The Helsinki City Hall has over 200 works of art on display from the Helsinki Art Museum HAM collections. Taru Tappola, HAM’s Head of Public Art, presents the works of art that were selected for the tours.

Open art exhibition in the lobby
Step in the open lobby and marvel at Kimmo Kaivanto’s infinite “Chain” sculpture. Aarno Ruusuvuori had a hand in selecting several of the art works, as the City Hall was in principle a work of art in itself. When the function of the lobby changes, some of the art is also replaced.

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The mayor’s art treasure
Come along on a rare tour of the mayor’s office and reception area, where you can find both traditional and contemporary art. Which piece of art does he admire from his office desk? Find out on the tour!

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A feast for the eyes in the restaurant
Gaze at Michael Schilkin’s entertaining wall relief depicting market sellers in the City Hall’s restaurant and listen to stories about the artist’s colourful life.

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Tove Jansson: Party in the City, 1947 / © Tove Jansson Estate / Photo: Hanna Kukorelli

Perspective guided tour: Tove Jansson’s frescoes

Perspective guided tours provide different perspectives on HAM’s exhibitions, featuring commentary by both HAM staff and visiting experts. Tove Jannson’s frescoes Party in the City and Party in the Country are discussed by HAM curator Mikko Oranen and journalist Kaisa Viitanen.

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Ellen Thesleff / Photo: Svenska Litteratursällskapet i Finland

Ellen Thesleff’s groundbreaking art and courageous life as an e-book

HAM Helsinki Art Museum’s collections include key works by Ellen Thesleff (1869–1954). Most of them were donated to the museum as part of the Katarina and Leonard Bäcksbacka collection. Last year (2019) marked the 150th anniversary of Ellen Thesleff’s birth. To celebrate the anniversary, HAM Helsinki Art Museum published a book featuring all of the works by Ellen Thesleff in the collections of the City of Helsinki, HAM Helsinki Art Museum and Helsinki City Museum for the first time. These images of the works are presented alongside images from private collections connected closely to the artist’s heirs or the Bäcksbacka collection. The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland also provided some archive images for the book. The texts for the publication were written by Hanna-Reetta Schreck.

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Havis Amanda / Photo: HAM / Yehia Eweis

The Story of Havis Amanda

The Havis Amanda fountain was unveiled in Helsinki’s Market Square in 1908, and is the best-known work of sculptor Ville Vallgren (1855–1940). The piece came about as the result of a desire to raise the profile of Helsinki as Finland’s capital by commissioning a piece of public art from Vallgren, who lived in Paris at the time. The fountain was unveiled with minimal fanfare, but it soon became the source of major public controversy, due to both the ‘indecent female form’ and the lack of understanding of art amongst the public. Despite its tempestuous start, Havis Amanda has since become one of Helsinki’s best loved public sculptures, and a symbol of this maritime city. It now forms part of HAM’s public art collections.

Havis Amanda constantly captivates passers by. Whom was the statue modelled on? Where does the name come from? How did Manta, as she is affectionately known to locals, become a key part of May Day celebrations in Helsinki?

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Enni Suominen: Mortarium, 2020 (Exhibition view) / Photo: Sonja Hyytiäinen

Artist interview: Enni Suominen

Mortarium by Enni Suominen is an exhibition at the HAM Gallery, the opening of which was planned for March. But things didn’t go as planned. The art museum’s coordinator Antti Kauppinen, who has had the opportunity to see the exhibition now waiting to be opened, discussed the artist’s works and the story of Mortarium with Enni Suominen. The discussion aims to open up the exhibition’s background, as well as Suominen’s work and thoughts on making art.

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Vilho Lampi: Self-Portrait, 1929 / Photo: Mika Friman

Digital guided tour of the Vilho Lampi exhibition

In February, HAM opened an exhibition of the works of interpreter of landscapes and the mind Vilho Lampi (1898–1936). This is the first exhibition of the artist’s works in Helsinki for forty years. Vilho Lampi was a long-overlooked painter of the plains from Liminka, whose artistic works started to gain recognition only decades after his life ended in Merikoski, Oulu. With the museum’s exhibition spaces in Tennispalatsi being closed, the public is now being offered the opportunity to discover the long-awaited exhibition via a digital guided tour.

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Hotel Manta, 2014 / Photo: Maija Toivanen

HAM asks the public for memories related to sculptures

There are nearly 500 public sculptures located in central areas in the various districts of Helsinki – in places where people live their daily lives and celebrate special occasions. Each sculpture is connected to numerous personal stories and has seen hundreds of arguments and thousands of kisses. HAM wants to give the residents’ memories a voice and is now collecting memories related to the sculptures.

Share your memories and tell your stories involving public sculptures in Helsinki! You can share your memory or read fun and heart-warming stories connected to sculptures on the Sculpture memory page maintained by HAM.

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Jacob Dahlgren: Early One Morning, Eternity Sculpture, 2019) / Photo: HAM / Maija Toivanen

Helsinki-sized art exhibition open 24/7

2,700 works of art around Helsinki, 500 sculptures accessible day and night. The Helsinki Art Museum, or HAM, looks after an art collection that belongs to the people of Helsinki, which includes over 9,000 individual works of art. In spite of the closure of the museum premises at Tennis Palace, much of the collection is still freely available for residents to enjoy in parks and along streets, close to home and a bike ride away. The fascinating selection of public art can also be accessed from home on the HAM website and by following HAM’s social media channels.

The sculpture bank

For residents’ self-guided art exhibition tours, HAM has compiled a sculpture bank open to all, with information on a total of 450 sculptures located in Helsinki. In addition to basic information (the title of the work, the name of the artist, year of reveal, location), the sculpture bank includes background information on the works as well their location on the map. The maps are produced in cooperation with the Service Map for the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The location data is also available as open data. ​

Self-guided sculpture trails

Pre-designed, self-guided sculpture trails around various themes have been created to delight residents. The Questions of Life trail will lead the traveller to think about and perhaps even find answers to questions about what art is and how it affects me. The Inhale exhale HAM trail is a good running trail, while the Life path of Tove or Pekka Kauhanen’s sculpture trail takes the walker to works of the artists themselves, ones that represent them or ones that were important to them. The Rainbow@Helsinki trail sheds light on the history of gender and sexual minorities.