The Finnish Art Society awards nearly 300,000 euros to support the visual arts
The Finnish Art Society awards thirteen major art prizes annually (the Ducat Prize for young artists, the Lifetime Achievement Award for mature artists, ten William Thuring Prizes for artists aged 35-45, and the Edvard Richter Award for art writers). Grants are additionally distributed to young artists and art writers. The total sum awarded in prizes and grants this year was 298,500 euros.
Ducat Prize to Roma Auskalnyte
The Ducat Prize for young artists went to interdisciplinary artist Roma Auskalnyte. The prize is valued at 16,000 euros. Established in 1858, the Ducat Prize is Finland’s oldest art award and the most lucrative of the Finnish Art Society’s prizes.
Roma Auskalnyte (b. 1988, Šilutė, Lithuania) has a strong background in printmaking, which finds reflection in how she uses bodily imprints and corporeal traces in her performative pieces. Her works unfold in dialogue with written, pictorial or material references, where traces of personal physical gestures invoke traces of cultural memory.
Auskalnyte graduated with a master’s degree in fine arts from the Academy of Fine Arts, Uniarts Helsinki in 2016. She lives and works in Helsinki.
Lifetime Achievement Award to Jan Kenneth Weckman
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to visual artist Jan Kenneth Weckman. The prize is valued at 10,000 euros.
Jan Kenneth Weckman (b. 1946, Helsinki) is known for his long, distinctive career as a graphic artist, painter, writer, discourser and art teacher. Among the recurring features of his oeuvre is the interweaving of drawing, writing, texture and spatiality. His art exudes an enigmatic quality hinting at the multilayeredness of meaning formation. Weckman builds maps of the mind, charting arcane knowledge that can only be expressed in the language of visual art. Focusing on the journey, not the destination, his art is forever moving and changing in search of exuberant new discoveries.
Weckman studied at the Free Art School in 1969 and at the Academy of Fine Arts from 1969 to 1973, graduating with a doctoral degree in fine arts in 2005. He taught for many years at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. He received the Finnish Art Society’s Ducat Prize in 1978. Weckman lives and works in Turku.
William Thuring Prizes
The William Thuring Foundation is the main supporter of the Finnish Art Society. The William Thuring Prizes consist of a main prize and nine other designated prizes awarded to visual artists aged between 35 and 45. The main prize is valued at 14,000 euros, the others at 6,500 euros.
William Thuring main prize to Kholod Hawash
Kholod Hawash has lived and worked in Finland, currently in Espoo, since 2018. She was born in 1977 in Basra, Iraq and has also lived in Jordan.
Hawash is a textile artist whose original medium was drawing, but she later began experimenting with embroidery techniques she learned from her mother in childhood. She sews everything by hand, often seated on the floor. Working at least 3-4 hours daily, it takes her two months to finish a piece. Her art draws from her homeland’s cultural heritage, landscapes, dreams and memories while also expressing a strong subtextual message of pride in being a woman. Hawash has said that one of her most important sources of inspiration is her mother, who used to sew quilts for the family from recycled materials. Hawash also uses recycled materials in her art.
In her solo exhibition at Galleria Huuto in summer 2022, Hawash described her work as exploring a woman’s relationship with her world, her environment and her homeland through floral symbolism. Hawash has participated in many group exhibitions in her former homeland and recently also in Finland. In autumn 2022 she participated in a group exhibition at the Museum of Technology.
Handcrafting is an integral element of Hawash’s art. Blending tradition and modernity in an engagingly original style, she creates a unique world of colour-drenched narrative.
William Thuring prizes
The nine other designated prizes went to the following visual artists:
Ville Andersson (b. 1986, Pernaja), Helsinki / painting, ink drawing, photography
Sami Havia (b. 1982, Säkylä), Helsinki / painting, drawing
Viljami Heinonen (b. 1986, Tampere), Vesilahti / oil painting
Jonna Kina (b. 1984, Lappeenranta), Helsinki / video, sound art, installation, writing, photography
Saija Kivikangas (b. 1984, Mikkeli), Lahti / painting
Ville Löppönen (b. 1980, Savonlinna), Helsinki / painting
Anna Rokka (b. 1986, Delsbo, Sweden), Helsinki / installation
Niina Villanueva (b. 1984, Tampere), Helsinki / painting, sculpture
Edvard Richter Prize to Sofia Lahti and Jane Vuorinen
The Finnish Art Society presents the Edvard Richter Award annually in recognition of an outstanding art book or essay published during the year. The prize is valued at 10,000 euros.
This year’s award went to Sofia Lahti and Jane Vuorinen for their editorial work on Piktorialismi – valokuvataiteen synty (Pictorialism – The Birth of Photographic Art) published by Parvs Publishing and the Finnish Museum of Photography. The Finnish Art Society’s literary committee hopes to use the award to draw attention to the importance of editorial professionalism in art book publishing.
The book vividly brings to life many complex facets of Pictorialism, an aesthetic movement that brought new artistic currents to photography over a century ago. The book is a compilation of essays by thirteen authors. Despite the large number of contributors, the thoughtfully selected texts are edited cohesively while allowing each author to bring their unique voice to the fore. The editors deserve recognition for upholding a high standard of polished expression in every passage of text right down to the picture captions.
The Finnish Art Society’s literary committee reviewed an extensive body of literature during 2022. This year’s noteworthy titles included an interesting selection of catalogues and other art books published in conjunction with exhibitions. The finest among them make for excellent reading also as independent literary works. These include Käännekohta: kansitaiteen nousu 1950–60-luvuilla (Turning Point: The Rise of Cover Art in the 1950s and 60s), a nonfiction title by Ville Hänninen published in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition at Hämeenlinna Art Museum. Another title commendable for creative flair and excellent writing is Jälki – kirjoituksia valokuvasta (Trace – Writings about Photography) edited by Hanna Weselius and published by S&S.
This year’s books highlighted the importance of editorial professionalism, which is evinced by qualities such as complex treatment of theme and consistently polished linguistic style, even in a book authored by numerous writers.
A good editor offers invaluable support to the writer. When resources are limited, however, intensive editorial work is not always possible. Small budgets rarely even cover the cost of hiring a specialized publisher’s editor, who, along with the copyeditor, are the most qualified experts to guide the author towards the best possible result.
It feels safe to write under the guidance of a professional editor. The writer can feel confident that mistakes will be caught, linguistic knots will be unravelled, and ideas that are struggling to get off the ground will eventually fly.
Rushed schedules and poor information flow are the main challenges of publishing these days. Sometimes writers may not even be aware of other essays to be published in the same book. Feedback may also be lacking during the writing process. A further common problem is that authors are given too little time to write, and they may not be informed of the book’s goals or editorial strategy.
A good editor ensures that the author has time and peace to write. Instead of being pressured for a quick turnaround, writers need time to think. With sufficiently clear instructions, the writer can occasionally stray off track without completely losing their way. Careful editorial work – from feedback and fact-checking to linguistic polishing – is the sine qua non of quality writing.
To publish a high-quality text, ambitious goals must be set for the entire publication and for every passage of writing, be it a caption, a brief exhibition introduction, or a longer essay.
Young artist grants
Thirty young artists received a grant of 6,000 euros each. A total of 331 applications were received. Eligibility for a young artist grant is limited to professionally qualified artists no older than 35 years of age.
Aho Miina (b. 1990, Helsinki), Helsinki / drawing, serigraphy
Blomberg Lotta (b. 1990, Kuopio), Helsinki / photography, video, ryijy rug art
Bruel Océane (b. 1991, Montpellier, France), Helsinki / sculpture, installation
Fleischmann Dominik (b. 1989, Würzburg, Germany), Helsinki / photography
Fox Maija (b. 1998, UK), Helsinki / sculpture
Heikkinen Joa (b. 1992, Jyväskylä), Turku / video, photography
Heinonen Toûa (b. 1990, Jyväskylä), Tampere / installation, performance
Pauliina Heinänen (b. 1992, Helsinki), Helsinki / photography
Helenius Venla (b. 1989, Turku), Helsinki / video art
Hemmilä Heidi / Hemuloordi (b. 1989, Tampere), Helsinki / ceramics, video art
Itälinna Roope (b. 1990, Pori), Turku / painting
Jasu Appu (b. 1987, Tammela), Helsinki / video, photography, sound art
Jula Henna (b. 1990, Turku), Helsinki / painting
Kevarinmäki Eetu (b. 1993, Seinäjoki), Helsinki / conceptual art
Kiviniemi Ville (b. 1986, Vantaa), Turku / drawing
Kojonen Maria (b. 1989, Alahärmä), Helsinki / photography, video, writing
Krage Annaliisa (b. 1993, Kiel, Germany), Espoo / painting
Kuokkanen Essi (b. 1991, Pieksämäki), Helsinki / painting
Leinonen Ari-Pekka (b. 1988, Paltamo), Helsinki / sound art
Leskinen Kira (b. 1987, Helsinki), Helsinki / scanner-based photography and tufted textiles
Murphy Aaro (b. 1991, Jyväskylä), Amsterdam / sculpture, installation, sound art
Niskala Jenni (b. 1990, Lahti), Helsinki / printmaking (roller, woodcut, block lithography)
Paananen Rainer (b. 1990, Vantaa), Vantaa / photography, sound art, installation
Reuter Oliver (b. 1994, Parainen), Helsinki / drawing, painting
Räinä Harriina (b. 1989, Kemi), Helsinki / graphic arts, photography, sculpture
Sarpaniemi Emma (b. 1993 Helsinki), Helsinki / photography
Tanttu Ananya (b. 1994, Helsinki), Helsinki / photography, moving image, installation
Toivonen Jenni (b. 1993, Tampere), Lisbon and Helsinki / photography, moving image, installation
Zhiyu Xiao (b. 1995, Hu Nan, China), Helsinki / painting, installation
One grant recipient did not give permission for their name to be published.
Signe Tandefelt grants
Signe Tandelfelt grants are awarded to art critics and other art writers for projects that facilitate their writing work and enliven Finland’s overall writing culture. There were 22 applications this year. A total sum of 10,000 euros was awarded to eight applicants.
Ahokas Kukka-Maria (b. 1987, Vantaa), Vantaa / €1,000 / for a collection of articles targeted at young readers featuring interviews with visual artists who deal with the climate crisis in their work
Hagman Henri (b. 1974, Oulu), Rovaniemi / €1,000 / for finalization of an anthology of essays about art policy and art theory
Helenius Elisa (b. 1981, Helsinki), Helsinki / €1,500 / for travel to attend the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea
Hänninen Ville (b. 1976, Jyväskylä), Helsinki / €1,690 / for writing for a book of essays about comic art
Kangasvuo Jenny (b. 1975, Helsinki), Oulu / 1,000 € / for four reviews in Kulttuurilehti Kaltio covering art events in North Ostrobothnia
Kihlman Asta (b. 1977, Turku), Turku / €1,500 / for travel to study the New York art scene and attend Frieze New York
Mustekala ry / €1,560 / for art reviews and essays, editing costs and writers’ fees
Uoti Jaakko (b. 1987, Helsinki), Helsinki / €750 / for travel to attend the RIBOCA3 triennial and explore the contemporary art scene and galleries in Latvia and Lithuania
About the Finnish Art Society
Founded in 1846, the Finnish Art Society supports Finnish art and the public’s enjoyment and understanding of the visual arts. Its annual prizes and grants are decided by the Board based on proposals submitted for its consideration by specialized committees.
The Ducat Prize and Lifetime Achievement Award, young artist grants
The awards and grants committee consisted of artist Antti Tanttu (chair), artist Heini Aho, artist Susanne Gottberg, Pessi Rautio, MA and lecturer Riikka Stewen, PhD.
Edvard Richter Award, Signe Tandefelt grants
The literary committee consisted of art critic Asko Mäkelä, Ph. Lic, art critic Helen Korpak, MA fine arts, and art critic Sini Mononen, PhD.
William Thuring Prizes
The prize committee consisted of art critic Asko Mäkelä, Ph. Lic. (Board chair), and Päivi Karttunen, BA (Board member).