SIRPA ALALÄÄKKÖLÄMagical Finland 31.7.2003 – 17.8.2003

Sirpa Alalääkkölä (b. 1964), a Finnish-born artist from Tornio now living in New Zealand, has studied e.g. at the Academy of Fine Arts (1985-1990). She is renowned e.g. for her modern interpretation of Aleksi Gallen-Kallela´s Aino triptych. This work is in collections of Kiasma (Helsinki Museum of Contemporary Art) alongside some of the works in Alalääkkölä´s Lives and Works in Finland series, which were exhibited at the opening of Kiasma. The series featured emigrants living in Finland and encounters between cultures.

Last year, Sirpa Alalääkkölä exhibited at Aine Art Museum in Tornio. It was at this time that she began portraying the Finnish way of life in her paintings. The subject is revisited this summer in her exhibition National Landscape at Lönnström Art Museum in Rauma, Finland, as well as in the current exhibition Magical Finland.

She says that after living in New Zealand for ten years she can now see Finland and Finnish culture with fresh eyes. Those national characteristics which used to be obvious parts of ordinary life are now seen more clearly in a new light.

The works are mainly triptychs, panoramas of Finnish life. Alalääkkölä made for example a painting of ‘Dividing the Fish´, a local tradition at Kukkolankoski rapids near Tornio. "It is admirable how people have managed to hold on to this locally important tradition in an ever-shrinking world."

Rauli Heino