Although airports and art is not a very common combination, Helsinki Airport wants to ensure that passengers and other visitors enjoy their time at the airport.
Finavia's ArtPort concept is a unique initiative worldwide. Its aim is to offer passengers free, surprising, and novel services that provide opportunities for both relaxation and interesting activities while waiting for a flight.
In fact, Helsinki Airport showcases many types of art both in the arrival and departure areas. There are also two galleries with temporary shows.
Art Gallery, near Gate 37, hosts temporary exhibitions on the theme of Finnish modern art and design. At the moment, the gallery shows photographs celebrating the 150th anniversary of the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius by Aho & Soldan.
You can find another photographic exhibition on the arrivals floor of Terminal 2, where Photo Gallery shows works related to aviation. The exhibitions change roughly every six months. Anyone visiting the airport can access the gallery for free.
The current project is the Blue Wings of Time exhibition presenting the uniform trends worn by air hostesses from 1947 to 2010.
Focus on Finnish artists
'Some of the art at the airport is exchanged regularly, some is on loan, and some is here permanently', explains Development Manager Merja Haapanen from Finavia.
An art exhibition at the airport is an excellent opportunity to showcase Finnish art and talent, and many Finnish works of art are, in fact, installed at the airport.
The oldest one on display is the Sun of the Fells relief by Laila Pullinen, made of Finnish copper and dating back to 1967. The relief is owned by Finavia and can be found near Gate 32. It was originally created for Montreal Expo ‘67.
Near Gates 34–35 in Terminal 2, a sculpture that looks like a dragonfly flies up near the ceiling. This stainless steel and glass fibre creation is the Concorde by Stefan Lindfors. It was unveiled in January 1993.
Another sculpture is a white ceramic piece entitled White Rabbit near Gate 37. This long-eared fantasy figurine was created by the artist Kim Simonsson. At the nearby Gate 38, you can admire the colourful mural Change of Scenery by Finnish artist and professor Mauri Favén.
Calming and relaxing art
Many works of art of all kinds are placed near the gates but also in areas open to all. One is Juha Ojansivu's Kiss, made of aluminium and depicting two tall matchsticks leaning onto each other in the arrivals area of Terminal 2.
Likewise, Seppo Koho's Reeds is located in Terminal 1, in an area accessible to all. This sculpture made of wood, glass, and steel describes the Finns’ uncomplicated, calm nature and frame of mind.
'Helsinki Airport wants to offer passengers an opportunity to find some calmness and relaxation through art. This way you can forget about the hurry and nourish your soul for a moment', Merja Haapanen continues.