Art around the railway station

In 2022, the City of Seinäjoki decided to procure five public artworks in the first phase of the development of the new railway station area.

The artworks were chosen by a multidisciplinary selection team. The selection was made based on an open portfolio application. The aim of the art around the railway station is to make the area a functional, distinctive and welcoming place that serves the locals, people working in the city, tourists and passers-by. In the application phase, the focus was on art that is insightful and has some substantive connection with the history of the railway station or its significance for the development of Seinäjoki.

Arja Kärkkäinen, Tiina Raitanen, Pia Männikkö and Juhana Moisander were chosen to implement the artworks for the railway station block and the façade of the multi-storey car park. In addition, an artwork proposal by Marjukka Korhonen for the first section of the new station subway was selected for further planning and implementation.

The façade of the Seipark multi-storey car park will feature a monumental artwork Platform 0 by Juhana Moisander, which explores the meanings of Seinäjoki and the railway. Arja Kärkkäinen’s artwork Birth Stone disperses onto the pavement at the main entrance of the Aallokko Family Service Centre. In the lobby of Aallokko, visitors are greeted by Pia Männikkö’s work Stolon. In the railway station courtyard, Tiina Raitanen’s artwork Waiting and Arriving inspires the imagination and joy of discovery of passers-by. Marjukka Korhonen’s Rabbit Hole and Ferris Wheel transforms the tubular space of the subway tunnel into a place of delight and adventure.

Furthermore, Heikki Varja’s bronze sculpture There it comes, there it comes, erected in 1979 in honour of railway workers, will be moved to the new station square.

Artwork for Kärjen koulu primary school

An invitation competition was held in 2022 for an artwork that would enrich school life at the new Kärjen koulu primary school. Artist Heini Aho won the invitation competition with her work Bird. The artwork is a multi-element sculpture series, expanding across the lobby of the new school building and outside on the wall next to the main entrance.

The new three-storey Kärjen koulu school is developed by real estate company Kiinteistö Oy Seinäjoen Palvelutalot and designed by the architecture Agency Arkkitehdit LSV. The school accommodates around 500 primary school pupils and is available for use by local residents in the evening. The aim is to have the artwork ready in autumn 2024 as the school building is completed.

The Bird artwork has many elements. It spreads over five different locations in the school but leaves room around it rather than materially occupying the space. The idea behind the artwork is a bird that has moved inside the school. The bird is nowhere to be seen: the sculptures are only traces and indications of its life in the shelter of the building.

The artist tells about her artwork:

Throughout the ages, birds have inspired people by flying overhead, looking at the world from a different perspective, from the top down. Birds are nature’s important pollinators and seed dispersers. They ensure their environment stays clean and healthy. Although the premise of the artwork is a bird, it is nowhere to be seen: there are only traces and indications of its life free in the shelter of the building. Sometimes, it is the traces that plot out the event more audibly than the event itself.

A tree will be planted in the green area at the entrance to the school, as if it had lured the bird inside. Unlike people, the bird can get through the small holes, unnoticed, when the school is asleep. Nobody knows where the bird comes from and where it goes. Nobody knows what the bird looks like. The absence of the bird in the artwork makes it more distinctly present. It has found a home in the shelter of the school and visits the school freely as a friend of the pupils. The artwork brings simple elements of the outdoors inside the school. A nest, a branch, bird tracks, seeds, a feather. We are all used to seeing these signs around us, but if you put them in a linear space, they become the story of one bird, which could be compared to the story of a growing child. Each pupil comes from a different background, steps in from the world outside and learns to weave their way in any given environment in a way that works for them. The building will succeed if it supports the organic development and spiritual growth spurts of all its pupils. Bird consists of dainty sculptural pieces and of text found next to each sculpture. The texts link the tangible traces of the bird to the broader questions, metaphors and ideas about life.