THE IITTALA CENTRE OF NAIVE ART
The Iittala Centre of Naive Art is located in the old wooden two-storey school house right next to the Iittala Glass Centre. There is a large selection of novelties of this intriguing art form on display in the art gallery that opens every summer and has an average of 20.000 visitors. In the winter season we offer a variety of art courses, work shops and seminars, small concerts and naive art exhibitions.
Address: Hollaajantie 2, 14500 Iittala
Mobile to the gallery +358 (0)45 7730 1686
The Art rental shop also open during the weekends throughout the winter.
Closed on Christmas weekend.
Open for groups also on weekdays, please book in advance.
Adults, pensioners, students, unemployed 5€
Under 18 years: free of charge
Guided tours: Groups 10 or under 10 people: 50€, over 10 people: 5 €/person.
How to get here
Iittala village is situated right next to Finland’s mail railway route and highway E12, between Helsinki (120 km/ appr. 1.5 hour) and Tampere ( 60 km/45 min). You can reach us by train, by bus or by car. The closest parking area is next to the Iittala Glass Centre and bus stops within half a kilometre to two kilometres. When travelling by train you arrive in Iittala Naivistic Railway Station. It is the first of its kind in Finland. It is only a 10-minute walk to our art centre from the railway station.
You can visit us individually or by booking a guided tour or work shop for you or your group. We can offer a guided tour in Finnish and English – and also in Japanese and Swedish, but please book in advance.
Naive art has a childlike tendency. The paintings are usually dreamlike and almost surrealistic with fantasy themes. The motifs are very narrative and autobiographical, illustrating the artist’s life, dreams and hopes. Also flora and fauna are very popular. The overall impression is funny and optimistic. Some critique towards the society or the human nature may occur on the side of humour.
Exhibition of New Naive Art in Iittala
The winter season starts November the 16th and ends March 31th! We are open on Saturdays and Sundays between 11AM-17PM.
This year we are privileged to have a special guest artist from Japan, Mr. Shin Tanaka. For the base layer of his paintings he uses sand from the beaches of Akashi, where his studio is located, to create a unique matiere. Tanaka uses the finest sand he can find, from where wave meets beach, where the bounties of the land, such as rocks and sand carried down from the mountains, mix with the bounties of the ocean in the form of objects such as shells and coral, brought in by the sea. Tanaka rinses the sand he collects to desalinize it, then dries it in the sun. By doing so, he locks the sun’s very energy into the canvas. In 2002, while working as a painter, he began to paint picture books. Everything include sentences, pictures, editing and bookmaking have been done by himself, and he has published many books until now. He published “巧克力熊(Chocolate Teddy Bear)” from Grimm Press, a Taiwanese publisher. After that he published his books several times in both domestic and outside of Japan. Besides, he works for stage design, advertisements, clothing design, character-creating, lectures and workshops.
Tanaka has visited another contemporary naivistic painter Ms. Asta Pulkkinen in Hollola, Finland. Pulkkinen’s and Tanaka’s works are next to each other in the exhibition.
Pulkkinen has taken part to Iittala Naive Art summer exhibitions since 1996. She has her own studio and showroom in Hollola in an old cantor’s house. Her identity as an artist is based on both public and personal aspects, on an interaction of ”inner and outer” dynamics. She doesn’t paint during the summer, she enjoys it fully, exhibits her art and entertains the visitors. The autumn is the time to start painting again. The darkening season is a kind of a turning point from an observation to an inner perception. In many of her works landscapes and events are displayed in a space inside of a head, where an observation starts to develop by the means of feelings, imagination and fantasy.
There are two other larger collections also on display, by Ms. Pirkko Valo and Ms. Tarja Polari.
“I want to bring colour, joy, imagination and humour to people’s lives through my paintings.”
In 2018 Tarja Polari (b. 1943) made a generous art donation for the Naivistit Iittalassa Foundation. The foundation got several pieces of art by Polari, from many decades. The foundation was determined to put a selection of these works on display immediately to the next summer exhibition. Because there was so many participants already in the summer exhibition 2018, the foundation decided to dedicate more space to Polari’s art in the winter season 2019–2020.
Polari’s works may be divided in two separate parts both style wise and by their themes. There are several pieces that represent the quintessential Finnish naive art. The other part represents a more abstract, pop-art like, perhaps a bit shocking style. Polari’s colourful works inevitably take us to the worlds of South American Incas and Mayas. You can see powerful feminine energy, primitive and primal power. On the other hand, Polari’s works might just as well be seen in large scale graffiti art in some urban environment.
”The themes in my paintings throughout the decades have been people, flora and fauna, masks, cells, wings, the sun and the moon. My works are powerful, bright in colour, full of play and humour, and there is some erotica, as well. I am interested in ancient cultures, and that shows in my art. ”
Tarja Polari is a child of a family of artists from Seinäjoki, Ostrobotnia, Finland. She got her most important schooling for art from her father, painter Oiva Polari (1912–1996). Polari recalls taking part to art competitions at an early age and winning several prices. When reaching puberty she started to paint even more enthusiastically under the guidance of her father.
Tarja Polari’s first private exhibition was in Helsinki in 1970 – when naive art became highly popular in Finland. Polari has taken part to Naive Art Exhibition in Iittala right from its debut year in 1989 until 1992. In the summer of 2019 Polari reappeared in Iittala Village – and we welcome her with joy! There will be plenty of healing colour around.
“I am the prisoner and the mistress of my own inner world.”
Artist Pirkko Valo (1943–2009) was born in Eskola, Karhula, on the South-East coast of Finland. She was the third and the youngest child in the family. Her father Einari Valo was a skilled carpenter, but he passed away when Pirkko was only four years old. After his death the mother Helmi supported the family by taking care of the garden of Karhula mansion in Kotka. Their home in Karhula, a wooden house in the countryside with perennial plants and rose bushes was a part of Pirkko’s “scenery of the heart”. Her fondness towards the nature developed early.
Pirkko Valo’s early artistic schooling consisted of a variety of courses in workers’ institute of Kotka-Karhula, and later on she attended to Aukusti Tuhka’s School of Graphic arts in Helsinki. The whole of the seventies was a really active period in Pirkko Valo’s life. She was a co founder in the Alfa Group with Olli Vaarula, and i.a. Olavi Hurmerinta, Antti Lampisuo, Tuomas Mäntynen, Asta Niemistö and Tarja Unkari. The unitive factors in all of the artists in the Alfa group were a certain type of realism and portrayal in their works.
The daughter of Pirkko Valo and Seppo Tamminen was born in 1972, when the family was living in Tapiola, Espoo. The life of an artistic family, the daughter and surrounding artifacts became the main themes and models for the artist to work with. The pieces tend to be small in dimension, like intimate peeks to the inner world of the artist. There is also a more practical explanation to the small size: Valo used to work by the kitchen table, whilst taking care of her child.
In this Naivistic Winter Exhibition there truely is a vast selection of Pirkko Valo’s artistic career. Furthermore, somehow a circle is getting closed – last year in the same premises the works of Seppo Tamminen – Pirkko’s former husband – were on display. The same kind of primitive nature, that you can see in Tarja Polari’s works downstairs, is clearly present in Valo’s pieces: Whist Polari takes the viewer to the South American mayas, Valo leads us to the Nordic shamans and next to mystical women.
Other contemporary artists taking part this winter are:
Sergei Arhipov, Anita Backlund, Stina Engvall, Inka Hannula, Margit Hakanen, Petra Heikkilä, Hannu Hirsivuori, Sinikka Hurskainen, Minna Iso-Lähteenmäki, Maija Kanerva, Aimo Katajainen, Anneli Kokkonen, Kåira, Matti Laine, Esa Leppänen, Salla Lylynoja, Hanna Meuronen-Majamaa, Raija Männistö-Koski, Kikka Nyrén, Marjaana Orkoneva, Terho Peltoniemi, Heli Pukki, Pirkko Pullinen-Valtonen, Päivi Salminen, Eino Viikilä and Aimo Vuorinen.