Exhibitions in Valamo Monastery
Valamo arranges several exhibitions every year: the permanent historical exhibition and temporary exhibitions.
The permanent historical exhibition in the bottom floor of the Cultural Centre showcases what the monastery life is and has been from the 16th-century to the present day.
Temporary exhibitions in 2015 are
- HEAVENS ABOVE – spirituality in folk art, 14 February - 31 August
- Nature photo exhibition, 14 February - 3 May
- Art exhibition of Kaarina Westerlund, 12 May - 31 August
- The tradition of hesychasm in Valamo Monastery, May 2015 - January 2016 in the library of Valamo Monastery
- Valamo Monastery 75 years in Heinävesi Anniversary Exhibition, 11 September 2015 - 10 January 2016
- Exhibition of Christian art by major Finnish and international artists, 11 September 2015 - 10 January 2016
HEAVENS ABOVE – spirituality in folk art
The theme of the new exhibition that opened at Valamo Monastery Cultural Centre in mid-February is spirituality in Finnish and European folk art. The representations of saints, angels, apostles and other Christian figures displayed in it are mostly the work of self-taught artists and have been loaned to the monastery for this purpose by private collectors, the art museums of Raahe and Kokkola and the district council of Kaustinen.
The exhibition is open Tuesday to Friday 11.30 am - 5 pm.
During Easter (2 - 22 April) daily 11.30 am - 5 pm.
In the summer (1 June - 31 August) Monday to Saturday 10 am - 5 pm,
Sundays and church festivals 12 am - 7 pm.
In 2005 the doctors Maija and Volker Dallmeier of Hannover donated their collection of European naïve and outsider art to the district council of Kaustinen. The miniature wooden statues in the collection were almost all from Poland and were inspired by that country’s powerful Catholic traditions. These works produced by artists ”out of the purity of the heart” started to be exhibited outside Poland in the 1960s, around the time when the Dallmeiers were beginning to collect folk art. Among the treasures from the collection that are on display at Valamo are paintings by the internationally respected artists Katarzyna Gawłowa from Poland and Ondrej Šteberl from Slovakia.
Also included in the exhibition are a number of rare sculptures in wood from the museum in Raahe, part of a collection of more than 90 such sculptures dating from the 17th-century that were once in the town’s old church. These include figures of apostles, a band of angels and a set of symbolic animals, all produced by the sculptor Mikael Balt, who came to Finland from Sweden around 1650 to install a new pulpit in Turku Cathedral. The mayor of Raahe then invited him to build a pulpit for Raahe Church as well, and at the same time the set of decorative sculptures was commissioned from him. These were not appreciated by the church’s 19th-century parishioners, however, and were removed. Since the items made by Balt for other churches have almost all been destroyed, this collection from the old church in Raahe is now unique.
Spiritual themes also abound in modern Finnish folk art, and these are represented in the exhibition by works from two artists living in or near Kuopio. Sirkka Keränen uses her paintings of Biblical scenes to convey a spiritual message of her own in a highly original way, while Marko Jääskeläinen’s paintings have a powerful Orthodox air about them, since the opportunity to express himself through art has quite literally restored him to life. In addition to these works there are sculptures of angels by Erkki Junno from Ostrobothnia.
A separate section in Heavens above – spirituality in folk art is devoted to miniatures carved out of tree bark by Archiatre Risto Pelkonen. These have been exhibited previously in Russia and Germany as well as Finland, but now they are accompanied for the first time by his modern versions of the statues of men placed outside many of the old wooden churches in Finland for collecting alms for the poor.
The exhibition has been arranged by Valamo Artists’ Society and Kokkola Museum of Folk Art and is open from mid-February until the end of August. Its curator is Liisa Heikkilä-Palo and its patron Archiatre Risto Pelkonen.