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Martti Aiha: Rumba, 1992. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. © Photo: Helsinki Art Museum / Yehia Eweis


Artist Martti Aiha

, Helsinki

Alko, the government-owned alcohol company, celebrated its 60th anniversary by donating the City of Helsinki a sculpture to be placed close to its headquarters in Salmisaari. An open competition was arranged in 1990 and it was won by Martti Aiha’s (b. 1952) entry “Rumba”. It was unveiled and donated to the City on April 5, 1992.

Rumba’s lively figure has inspired a host of interpretations. Some have seen it as the Nike, the winged god of victory from Greek mythology while others have taken it as a depiction of the dynamics of movement, referring only to its self as is typical of the 1990s modernist sculpture. The title is a reference to music, and in Martti Aiha’s opinion, it also refers to the “Rumba” of the passing traffic. The work also follows references to a movement in 1970s art, which favoured openess to interpretation, thus distinguishing itself from ascetic and non-ornamental imagery.

The sculpture is black-painted aluminium and is 15 metres high. The work belongs to the collections of the Helsinki Art Museum.

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