Paula Huhtanen

Nokia (1965)

Paula Huhtanen promotes “joyism” in her art, which spreads the idea of trust and optimism that erupts in her brilliantly colourful paintings and collages. Her artistic expression also finds a canvas on unique objects and accessories, such as a piece of furniture, a dish, a shoe or a garment.

Huhtanen’s paintings are characterised by abundance, power and joy. The works have small, colourful details, dots, lines and patterns. She has developed a multi-layered, glowing painting style.

“I support ‘joyism’, and I feel that promoting it is my job in the universe. People are controlled by fear and even threats. I want to burst that bubble with my art and show how well things are working for us, at the end of the day. Everything is fine. Everything will be all right.”

“Artists must be critical, but they must also encourage people to trust that tomorrow will be better and they need to work for peace.”

Huhtanen, who is originally from Lapland, now finds her inspiration in the rural landscape of the village of Sarkola in Nokia. “My works draw on absolutely everything. Everyday life, celebrations, lights, shadows, the wind. Everything in life can be turned into art,” says Huhtanen.

The Association for Rural Culture and Education named Paula Huhtanen the 2020 ITE Artist of the Year. The award, which was introduced this year, includes an appearance at the events related to the ITE Art Jubilee Year 2020, including the Ethnogala and the Christmas market in Helsinki, the Ilo ylimmillään exhibition and the Bear Festival in Ilomantsi as well as the Arjen luovuus campaign.

Text: Raija Kallioinen. Images: Vilma Rimpelä. Portrait of the artist: Eija Irene Hiltunen.