Viva Granlund is a Helsinki-born visual artist, who has worked with public city spaces for quite a while. Her work takes place on the borderlines between art and activism. In the cityscape, she beautifies ‘non-places’ such as corridors or underbridges that we usually barely notice or just choose not to look at. In late 2016, she was given the Helsinki Culture Award.
Granlund’s artworks are artistically laudable, meticulously planned and full of detail. They draw the viewer in for a long time. Granlund doesn’t merely replicate a ready-made idea or concept, but she masters many different techniques and styles of working. Each of her artworks is original and unique. These include the ‘Opintoputki’ pedestrian tunnel at the Helsinki University metro station and the mural in the Kamppi underpass of the Baana bicycle route. In addition to her own artistic endeavours, Granlund teaches children and youths at the Northern Helsinki Art School. She has headed several collaborative art projects in public spaces.
On the centenary of Finland’s independence, the curator for the XXII Mänttä Art Festival, Pirjetta Brander, has invited Viva Granlund to paint all the surfaces of an entire two-storey building. Located in the centre of Mänttä, the building will be a 'Gesamtkunstwerk' titled 100 +++ Trees. Granlund will also host a workshop bringing together locals and people from different cultures to create a street painting on the Vilppula Square.
Granlund’s work in the streetscape of Mänttä-Vilppula is a perfect fit in Tampere Region Festivals’ ‘Finland 100’ project called ‘The Story of Freedom of Expression’. Street art in particular has been a controversial topic in Finland for quite some time, having been branded as criminal daubing and considered marginal even in the Finnish art scene.
At its finest, street art displays more and more potential to express issues about society and its phenomena with surprising efficacy. Street art is equally visible to all in the public space, in the streetscape usually dominated by advertising. This mode of creation also allows for a collaborative community project for people of various ages and from various cultures. With the seasoned guidance and instruction by the the artist, this artwork might become a significant voice in the ceremonious agenda of Finland’s centenary.
The theme and artist list of the XXII Mänttä Art Festival will be announced in full in the beginning of March.
The artist's website:
Community Art Projects:
Viva Granlund in front of her work in the Baana bicycle route, Helsinki (photo: Pirjetta Brander).