ITE Report #2 Finland. Contemporary Folk Art


On my day off from performing in the Jacobs Dagen week in Pietarsaari, I head up to Kokola on an ITE pilgrimage as I have heard that there is a museum there dedicated exclusively to ITE-the Contemporary Folk Art movement in Finland.  Indeed there is such a place in this cluster of little museums in this larger coastal town, however it is locked up, and after a little detour, I discover that it is opened up on demand. I ask the man, and lo and behold, I’m in.


Turns out there are two painters currently being exhibited, one downstairs and one upstairs, both under the theme of Protest-ITE. Well upstairs is a series of paintings covering the entire space, all rather primitive-naive finger paintings that seem more like a personal protest. The space seems overwhelming and claustrophobic, and I don’t stay long. When I come back downstairs, the young man who let me in and who is sitting comfortably while I visit the space, nods his head and says in a questioning tone, kind of dark?  I respond in the positive, and really I felt like I was in someone’s nightmare in the middle of a too long winter, and perhaps I was and that was the whole point of the protest.

Downstairs is a different story entirely, two rooms full of delightful whimsical imaginative  paintings by Tyyne Esko, whom in a newspaper article, in the New York Times no less, looks like a eastern european mid 60’s bubele grandmother with a kitchen smock, oversized glasses and a big smile.  However her art is amazing and her vision/message/protest is full of clarity, perception and humor….I couldn’t find that many online resources, however here are some photos of her paintings (with titles when available, below,)  I only wish that I had taken more>


the party line



recession begins


self portrait



newspaper.fawning ont he big boys


I wish I could remember the title of this last one I am sharing. It is something like the groom’s vision….Well, if you should happen by Kokkola in the next month or so, I certainly recommend a visit to the ITE museum.


One thought on “ITE Report #2 Finland. Contemporary Folk Art”

  1. Terve;
    Thank You so much for your visit in Merikarvia and Alpo in “Savanni”. Thank You as well for your kind and clever writings and photos. I translated most of it for Alpo; he remembered your visit well, Many greetings from him as well.
    I sent your pages’ address to Elina in Kokkola and now she asks, can she put a link addressing to your pages on their site in Kokkola (and maybe on our site here in Merikarvia)

    From not quite so dark Merikarvia, Yours
    Jouko Ilvonen

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