Friday, June 19, 2015

Finland Part 1: Oulu

 In my last post, I focussed on the exhibit.  This post will focus on our time in Oulu.

Oulu is the largest city Northern Finland.  In fact, except for a few cities in Russia, it is the most northerly major city in the world.  It has a well respected university and is a technological hub.  It is located on the Gulf of Bothnia.

Our first morning, B and I wandered around the city.  Our hotel was on the water next to the Kauppahalli, a market with produce, craft and food stalls both in an enclosed hall and in tents in a large square.  We browsed the stalls and then walked down to the shore.
One of the many canals
It was a beautiful day -- cool, sunny and breezy.  We wandered past a row of old granary buildings, which now house restaurants and coffee shops.
Old granaries on the waterfront
That evening, we ate at one of the granary restaurants, a Pancake restaurant.  The concept intrigued us.  The pancakes were wonderful -- they were very much like thick crepes.  Mine was topped with salmon and leeks, Brian's was topped with smoked reindeer and smoked cheese.  Delicious!
The Kauppahalli is a beautiful building.  This photo was taken after we walked through and were looking at it from the south.  The open air stalls are on the north side.
The fat policeman (toripolliisi) statue is an iconic Oulu sight.  He stands in the open air market.
It just happened to be the Finnish Armed Forces Flag Day.  While in the market we watched the air show. And the poor policeman got buzzed by the jets.

 We had heard about the parade, so we lined up on a bridge, along with hundreds of Finns, to watch it.  The parade started precisely on time, and it was extremely silent.  No music, no cheering, no clapping, just the sound of marching soldiers and veterans.
After the troops had gone by, there was a lengthy procession of armored vehicles.  They weren't quite so silent.
And then, at the rear, there was a marching band.
After the parade, we walked through the Hupisaaret park to the Oulu Museum of Art.  

And approached the museum from the back.  The museum itself is a converted glue factory, with a late 20th century postmodernist extension on the rear.  You can see a little of the addition on the left of this picture:
The OMA, or Taidemuseo

I've already written about my part in the exhibit, but here are pictures of two of the other galleries.  You can see art by Joe Cunningham, Carolyn Mazloomi, Dinah Sergeant, Linda Levin, Judith Larzerlere, Paula Nadelstern and Jane Burch Cochran.
The largest gallery

Two pieces by Joe in the front gallery
Judith and I shared a gallery.  This is Jude during the press conference:
After the opening, the artists and their guests were treated to dinner at the Science Museum.  After dinner, we walked around the museum.  The view from the tower was amazing!
Looking West from the tower
On Saturday, Anna-Riikka, Elina and Vuokko took us on an excursion to see a little of the Northern Finnish countryside.  Our first stop was the Kierikki Stone Age Centre, an archeological site dating back 5,000 to 6,000 years ago.  There was a museum and some reconstructed dwellings, as well as a glimpse of several archeological dig sites.

Brian the stone age man
 The second stop was Turkansaari Open Air Museum.  An historical village, with a church and vicarage dating from the 17th century.  The church is still in use.  I love the two adornments -- the cross on one end of the roof and the rooster on the other.
There were lots of buildings -- the site had been a trading post between the Swedes and the Russians, a tar producing site and a lumber town.  It was sited on the Oulu River, or Oulujoki.
Windmill at Turkansaari
After the excursion, we had to say goodbye to our hosts, Elina Vieru, Anna-Riika Hirvonen and Vuokko Isaksson.
The next morning, Brian and I boarded the train bound for Helsinki.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Report from Oulu

This will just be a quick post.  Brian and I got home late last night from our fabulous trip to Oulu and Helsinki, Finland.  I'm exhausted, I need to unpack and the refrigerator is totally empty.  But I wanted to share just a little from my trip to Oulu for Quilt Visions: American Modern Quilt Art.  

The Oulu Museum of Art is a large, beautiful building set on the edge of Ainola Park.  In fact, from the hotel, it was a truly lovely walk.  On our first day in Oulu we visited the museum for a walk through of the exhibit.  And met Elina Vieru and Vuokko Isaksson, the curators of the exhibit,  and Anna-Rikka Hirvonen, the director of the museum.
In front of the museum 
Once inside, we found one of my pieces, Strip Study #2, hanging at the entrance to the exhibit.  Wow!
 And my quilts were all hanging together in Gallery C.  From the doorway it looked like it was my own private gallery, but it also included quilts by my friends Judith Larzerlere and Joe Cunningham.
 The next morning we did a walk through with the press:
We then had a private tour of the museum, which has a wonderful permanent collection:
Friday night was the opening. Four hundred people attended and the ceremony included speeches by Risto Vuoria, Director of Culture for the City of Oulu and Jeffrey Reaneau, Counselor for Press and Cultural Affairs at the US Embassy in Helsinki.
We were treated to a modern dance exhibition.  And spent several lovely hours meeting people and talking about our work.

More later!

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