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Tommi Toija: King of the Hill, 2020. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. © Photo: Kirsi Halkola / HAM.

King of the Hill

© Artist

Viipurinkatu 21, Helsinki

Tommi Toija’s (b. 1974) work King of the hill is a figure standing on top of a sphere, ready to embrace the world with their arms spread wide. Water slowly streams from the palms of the figure and falls in the pool surrounding the work. The work is cast in bronze. The sphere has been darkened by patina and the figure has been painted a light skin colour.

The pool of water in the courtyard of the school inspired Toija to incorporate water into the static sculpture. According to the artist, the figure in the newly finished work is a student setting out into the world with open arms. After upper secondary school, many young people may feel unsure about the future, but they also feel hopeful and have an urge to embrace the world, which is distinctive of that age. According to Toija, young people are innovative and keep the world moving. The gushing and flowing water in the work is a reference to this constant movement.

Toija’s body of work includes sculptures, reliefs, drawings and watercolours. Regardless of the medium, all of the pieces are joined together by their theme: a confused-looking figure. The confusion related to being a part of this world is a human feeling that many viewers can identify with. The features of the figure are similar from work to work. The naked, light-skinned and bald figure is wide-eyed and looks lost. “I see the entire human life span as a confused phase,” Toija says.

The work was produced as part of the City of Helsinki Percent for Art programme and it belongs to the collections of the Helsinki Art Museum.

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