On Thursday this week during the annual one-day festival, Night of the Arts, Helsinki truly did its best to organise a wide range cultural events, exhibitions, workshops, performances and surprises to people of all ages.
The Night of the Arts in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is actually a festival within a festival, taking place every August during the fortnight of Helsinki Festival, locally known as Helsingin Juhlaviikot.
Traditionally most of the events during the Night of the Arts (Taiteiden yö) were free of charge and went on until late in the evening. Also museums, galleries and bookshops were open till late.
I have always been culturally very curious and active but I have to confess that I really do not understand a single bit of arts. Having said that the Night of the Arts is a perfect opportunity to all active and non-active people to wander the streets of Helsinki, soak up the cultural and arts events while enjoying the magical atmosphere of warm a late summer evening.
This is what we experienced during the Night of the Arts in Helsinki this year:
Colour Splash at Kiasma Museum of Modern Art
We started our art exploration at Kiasma Museum of Modern Art. The museum building with winding staircases, curvy corridors and glass ceiling is a beautiful piece of modern art and architecture on its own.At Kiasma we saw a colourful exhibition called Happy Together by Choi Jeong Hwa, a famous contemporary artist from South Korea. His pieces of work were full of colour and joy, at the same time calling our attention to the materialistic world we live in, the excess of goods, and the ubiquity of plastic.
Summer Evening Magic at Secret Garden
After Kiasma we headed to a secret garden party held in the courtyard of Kaartin lasaretti, behind Hietalahti market hall. I did not even know that a green oasis like this existed in the city centre, so it was great to explore totally new places.
In this magical garden we had some tasty street food under lush green trees decorated with fairy lights and balloons, and watched some amazing aerial acrobatics while children were busy with flower and circus workshops as well as wall painting.
Exhibition by Eero Aarnio at Design Museum
Then we continued to Design Museum, which has already become my tradition during the Night of the Arts. We saw a stunning exhibition by Eero Aarnio, a Finnish designer who became internationally known with the Ball Chair. I absolutely love his furniture and lamps, so as soon as I get a new house I will buy some of his pieces.
Sea Lives by the Cathedral
At the end of the evening we headed to Senate Square by the majestic Helsinki Cathedral to see one of the main events of the Night of the Arts, the Sea Lives installation by South Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa. He had created lots of colourful and gigantic marine animals such as a green octopus with long legs and fish in all possible colours from recycled plastic bags with the aim to draw people’s attention to marine protection and the massive plastic rafts that float in the oceans.
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