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Art brings themes of growth, caring, and presence to newly built daycare centers


Bogna Wisniewska: visuaalinen halaus, 2023. Kuva: HAM/Sonja Hyytiäinen.

Three newly built daycare centers in Helsinki have received new public art, to the delight of their users. Kirsi Kivivirta has created a work for Daycare Soittaja in Kannelmäki, Sanna Kannisto for Daycare Nuotti in Pukinmäki, and Bogna Wisniewska for Daycare Longinoja in Malmi. The works address themes of growth, listening, and the broader interaction between humans and their environment.

Kirsi Kivivirta: IF I WERE A TREE, 2023. Photo: HAM/Kirsi Halkola.

Kirsi Kivivirta’s IF I WERE A TREE consists of wooden circles in the building’s façade and ceramic branch reliefs inside the building. The branches in the work bring the surrounding environment indoors, and the textured surface invites viewers to touch it. The circles engage in dialogue with the building’s windows, floor patterns, lights, furniture, and gate details. Daycare Soittaja is designed by Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen Oy.

Kirsi Kivivirta’s (b. 1959) artistic practice is based on everyday spaces, urban landscape, and architecture. Kivivirta’s main material is white porcelain, but in her work for Daycare Soittaja, she also used wood for the first time.

Sanna Kannisto: Call of the Woods, 2023. Photo: HAM/Kirsi Halkola.

Sanna Kannisto’s Call of the Woods brings local nature indoors and invites viewers to observe birds and nature. Photographs of birds and trees printed on the glass surfaces of Daycare Nuotti’s stairs brighten up and calm the space. On the stairs, you will find a blue tit perched on an aspen branch as well as bullfinches, a redpoll, and a whinchat flitting on the branches of trees native to Finland. One playful detail is a rope ladder with a meadow pipit, a willow warbler, and other birds swaying on it. Additionally, the work includes framed photographs of a dunnock, greenfinches in a poplar, and a boreal owl. The daycare center is designed by Verstas Arkkitehdit Oy. 

Sanna Kannisto (b. 1974) is known for her photographs of birds, and she has ELY Centre’s special permit for photographing birds in their natural habitat. According to Kannisto, “There is fragile beauty and joy – even humour – in birds”.

Bogna Wisniewska’s visual hug has been made for Daycare Longinoja, designed by Arkkitehtitoimisto Lehto Peltonen Valkama Oy. The work consists of ceramic cloud shapes and textiles with wooden frames reflecting the gentle form of the clouds. The work explores themes of gentleness, care, softness, and closeness. The artist hopes her work conveys a sense of calmness and nurture.

Bogna Wisniewska (b. 1988) works with painting, ceramics, textiles, installation, and gardening. Her artistic practice revolves around relationships with nature as well as care, kindness, fragility, and the queer perspective. 

The works were commissioned in accordance with Helsinki’s Percent for Art principle: A part of the city’s budgeting for construction and renovation projects is earmarked for new public artworks. HAM Helsinki Art Museum has the role of art expert in these projects, and the works are accessioned to the City of Helsinki’s art collection, managed by HAM. This collection already includes more than 200 public art works made with the Percent for Art principle.