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Radoslaw Gryta: Monument to Ordinary People, 1997. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. © Photo: Helsinki Art Museum / Hanna Rikkonen

Monument to Ordinary People

Artist Radoslaw Gryta

, Helsinki

Radoslaw Gryta’s “Monument to Ordinary People” located in Rantapuisto park in Siltamäki consists of 12 rough granite boulders. “A Tale of Old Women” was written by Polish poet Tadeus Rózewicz. The poem has been cut into parts and the single parts have been inscribed into boulders. The entire poem is also provided in Finnish, Polish and English inscribed on plaques on separate stones around the park.

Gryta proclaims that the monument’s purpose is to honour ordinary, day-to-day life. It is also a protest against pompous war memorials and heroic statues. The monument is placed on a grassy slope so that the 12 boulders stand loosely apart and viewers must walk from boulder to boulder in order to read the poem. The work does not have an imposing mass to force it’s message on viewers. Instead, it is up to them to decide whether to respond to receive it. Also, the poem’s fragments are sometimes difficult to read, which highlights its content and makes each word matter.

The “Monument to Ordinary People” has previously been earlier in Hvitträsk, Jämsä’s Stone Bank, and in the park of the Alexander Church in Tampere. The Helsinki City Art Museum acquired the piece in 1997.

The work belongs to the Collection of the City of Helsinki, managed by HAM Helsinki Art Museum.

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