Taidetta Jätkälle – Art for the Port
An art competition in two parts was organised at the initiative of Forum Box. The competition lasted from August 2020 to August 2021 and other organisers were Port of Helsinki, City of Helsinki, and Helsinki Art Museum HAM.
The purpose of the competition was to find a public artwork for the West Harbour area. The artwork needed to reflect the identity of the area: Jätkäsaari has quickly transformed into an urban neighbourhood and a passenger transport hub. It also has over a hundred years’ worth of harbour and industrial history behind it that is nowadays linked to the busy West Harbour.
93 proposals were submitted to the competition 5 of which were selected for the second stage.
Winner of the Competition
Architect Akseli Leinonen won the competition with the proposal ” Litorinameren kalastajat”. The artwork will be located in the Atlantinaukio and Madeiranaukio squares. The squares and the artwork are estimated to be built in 2022–2025. Three prizes were awarded in the competition. The first prize was awarded to Akseli Leinonen, the second prize to a group formed by Henrik Amberla (industrial designer) and Sara Pathirane (visual artist) with the proposal “Ikiaikainen” and the third prize to sculptor Riikka Puronen with proposal “Lumienkelikyltit”. Other finalists were visual artist Kaisa Ruohoranta and sculptor and textile artist Johanna Suonpää.
The jury of the competition consisted of 7 members representing all the organisers and included two members appointed by the Finnish Artists’ Association. For more information, please see the competition plan.
Looking into the Past – Looking into the Future
“Litorinameren kalastajat” connects the Atlantinaukio and Madeiranaukio squares by drawing the sea surface 15 meters above our heads. The rising sea levels are a common topic in the age of climate change. With this artwork we are looking into both the future and the past, the distant prehistorical Litorina Sea. For thousands of years the sea was a route connecting lands, peoples, and persons. The harbour continues this historical and cultural heritage of connecting.
What Was the Litorina Sea?
Akseli Leinonen describes the idea for the artwork:
“In 6000 BCE the Helsinki area was dominated by the Litorina Sea, the predecessor of the Baltic Sea. Its surface was about 20 meters higher than the current sea level. This prehistoric sea was filled with the meltwater from the Ice Age and at its largest it covered almost one third of the current Finnish land area. This was the Mesolithic Period when the main livelihoods of the people living in the area were hunting, fishing, and gathering from the nature. The settlements were mostly temporary, and the life was nomadic. However, the water level was continuously sinking as the water flowed to the Atlantic Ocean through the Danish straits. By the start of the Common Era the area had its current shape, and new inhabitants had settled in the former sea floor. Among these inhabitants were also humans that started to settle permanently in the area little by little.
(–) The artwork is a spatial synecdoche referring to the changes experienced by the Globe over time. Its starting point is to tie together the different times and spatial orders. It translates the history of the place and the changes over thousands of years into an experience transporting the viewer to the post Ice Age Finland and into our potential future. The artwork offers the viewer a chance to visualize the changes in the surroundings and to reorientate in respect to the current reality. By doing this the artwork seeks to widen the cultural nature of the place and to make the climate change observable.”