Ensio Tuppurainen

Vekaranjärvi (1924–2014)

In Kääpälä, along the road to the Vekaranjärvi garrison, there is a building that is a home for an enormous number of works of art: The House of Paintings. The motifs and techniques vary from traditional landscape paintings to hilarious caricatures and protest paintings spiced with writings. Ensio Tuppurainen used to focus on paintings and his House of Paintings was a home gallery open to visitors, but he decided to lock the door and put his energy into the signs and sculptures in the garden.

Tuppurainen has named his home Paradise, which is also inscribed on the wall. He says he is at his most content when creating his art. He can recall many happy memories of the reactions his protest art has sparked over the years. The gigantic Penis Statue that stood in the garden used to create quite a stir and deep resentment. Tuppurainen refused to remove his protest statue despite numerous requests, and finally it was the elements that got the better of the sculpture.

Tuppurainen’s themes vary tremendously. Some pieces are humorous, some are fiercely polemical. The rights of retirees and war veterans, the protection of nature and politicians’ inability to run the country and keep their promises are recurring themes in both his sculptures and signs. Tuppurainen has also erected a colossal UFO in the garden to entertain visiting children.

Tuppurainen says that he is not after praise. His neighbours have taken to his art, though, which does not surprise him really. He says that he has never intended to hurt anyone while telling the truth about politicians. You can’t please everyone all the time.

Text & photos: Minna Haveri. Translation: Kirsti Nurmela-Knox.

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