Kim Somervuori, “Kaupunkikukkia (Urban flowers)” (2023), Raahe. Photo: Antti Baas
Urban flowers is a modern flower bouquet and an artist’s greeting to people living in Raahe. Thanks to the work praised by the residents, there have already been hopes for more public art in the city.
The city’s first and long-awaited mural has been completed in the center of Raahe. Visual artist Kim Somervuori’s work “Kaupunkikukkia (Urban flowers)” was realized as part of the KRIPA project (International Residency Innovation Network for North Ostrobothnia), which creates a new kind of business and cooperation in the field of art and culture. The work is located at the southern end of the property at Seminaarinkatu 2.
The design of the work was based on a workshop led by Somervuori organized in Raahe in June, and in addition, the work also shows the artist’s thoughts drawn from Raahe.
“The wall painting project went smoothly as a whole and we are very satisfied with the end result. Revitalizing a landscape that looked even a bit dreary in the past has received praise from the residents of the area, and the city has already hoped for more public art inspired by the mural,” says Heikki Ylikulju, project coordinator of the KRIPA project.
The traditions of graffiti and high art meet in Somervuori’s multi-expressive and surprising works. The artist feels that the roots of his work realized in Raahe are deeper in modernist painting than what is usually seen in wall paintings.
“The implementation shows my characteristic jagged painting style. I scaled my handprint to a larger scale and composed the work on the wall with the same precision as the smaller works I executed on canvas, aiming for a painterly expression,” says Somervuori.
The work contains references to popular culture and includes song names such as Camera Obscura’s Honey in the Sun, Hercules & Love Affair’s Blind, Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs and Neil Young’s See the Sky About to Rain, which are not only visual elements but also references to interpersonal communication.
“The names of the songs are winks to the viewer of the piece, who has the opportunity to find and recognize them,” states Somervuori.
It is natural for Somervuori’s work that the sketch and the idea of the work live in the moment without being unnecessarily binding. The starting point, a bouquet of flowers, grows in an abstract direction without forgetting traditions. At the same time, the painting is the artist’s greeting to all the people of Raahe.
“City flowers are a modern bouquet. It is not tightly bound, but free and flying, as if it had been lovingly picked from a meadow or roadside.”
The cooperative parties which made the work possible as part of the KRIPA project were the City of Raahe, Kummatti Oy and the Nuorisovaltuusto. Upeart was responsible for the production and art coordination of the project.
In the International Innovation Network of Residencies for North Ostrobothnia (KRIPA) project, an Arctic concentration of international residency activities created in North Ostrobothnia. The implementers of the KRIPA project are the City of Raahe, the municipality of Ii and the Kuusamo-opiston Kannatusyhdistys ry. The project is financed by the ELY Center and the EU Rural Development Fund and is related to the Rural Development Program of Mainland Finland.