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Awards and Grants 2023

The Finnish Art Society awards nearly 300,000 euros in support of the fine 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 grants and prizes this year was 298,500 euros.

EMILIA TANNER: Katseen kulma -näyttely Galerie Anhavassa/ The Angle of Viewing -exhibition at Galerie Anhava, 2022 KUVA: Jussi Tiainen

Ducat Prize to Emilia Tanner

This year’s Ducat Prize for young artists went to Emilia Tanner. The Ducat Prize was established in 1858 and is Finland’s oldest art award. Valued at 16,000 euros, it is the most highly endowed of the Finnish Art Society’s prizes.


Emilia Tanner’s (b. 1990, Espoo) key medium is paper. Her aesthetically engaging minimalistic pieces possess a heightened sense of materiality. The illusions they evoke are disrupted by the torn and perforated surfaces. Tanner’s art reflects on the themes of time, change and transience. The paper undergoes a transformation process, either slowly through exposure to sunlight, or quickly by means of laser burning. Tanner’s stylistic register ranges from the graphic to the sculptural, from minimalism to monumentalism. Her pieces can be experienced on many levels, either from close up or afar, on a scale from miniature to huge and back again.


Emilia Tanner graduated with a master’s degree in the fine arts from Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts in 2021. She is based in Helsinki. Her work has been exhibited both in Finland and internationally.

EMILIA TANNER: Varjot / Shadows, 2022, laseretsaus paperille / laser etching on paper, 37 x 63 cm KUVA: Jussi Tiainen
Emilia Tanner

Lifetime Achievement Award to Ulla Jokisalo

Ulla Jokisalo is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for long-term excellence in the fine arts. The prize is valued at 10,000 euros.


Ulla Jokisalo (b. 1955, Kannus) explores the themes of memory and memories. Over the course of her long career, she has boldly challenged and renewed the conventions of photographic art. Using old photos from family albums as her raw material, she revisits experiences from her past. Her reworked images are reinterpretations of childhood memories. By embroidering old photographs with thread and using cut-outs to create collages, she destroys to make whole again. Her works are narrative, feminist and psychological. The ambiguous titles also play a significant role, adding paradoxical, enigmatic levels of meaning to her work.


Ulla Jokisalo graduated as a photographic artist from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (today Uniarts Helsinki) in 1983. She has held numerous solo exhibitions, including major retrospectives at Kuopio Art Museum in 1993, Helsinki City Art Museum in 2001 and at HAM Helsinki Art Museum in 2018. She received the Finnish State Art Award in 1984 and 2001, the Finnish Cultural Foundation Award in 2001 and the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2010. She held a professorship in photography at the University of Art and Design Helsinki from 2004 to 2009. Jokisalo is based in Helsinki.

ULLA JOKISALO: Päähänpistoja / Sudden Ideas, 2010, pigmenttivedos ja nuppineulat / archival pigment print and pins, 61 x 44 cm

Ulla Jokisalo

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.

KARI VEHOSALO: Object, 2023, öljy kankaalle / oil on canvas, 120 x 180 cm KUVA: Erno Enkenberg

William Thuring main prize to Kari Vehosalo

Kari Vehosalo (b. 1982, Ylöjärvi) is renowned for his intriguing, exquisitely executed paintings. His style is recognizable for its surgically precise photorealism and its cool, monochromatic palette. Vehosalo also works in other media such as assemblage, sculpture, photography and installation. Employing a slow, meditative approach, he engages in a critical examination of contemporary reality. His works deal with psychological themes of universal relevance: sexuality, power, social issues, and the individual’s relationship with society. Carrying on the tradition of humanism, Vehosalo’s art evinces the artist’s abiding fascination with the complexities of human life.


Kari Vehosalo graduated with a master’s degree in the fine arts from the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2010. His work is represented in many prestigious Finnish public collections as well as private collections both in Finland and internationally. Vehosalo is the winner of the 2017 Ars Fennica Award. He has held numerous solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums. His most recent major solo exhibition was at the Sara Hildén Art Museum in 2021. Alongside his work as an artist, Vehosalo has held a professorship in painting at Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts.

Other designated prizes

The nine other designated prizes went to the following visual artists:


Estarriola Anna (b. 1980 Banyoles, Spain), Helsinki / media art, sculpture, performance

Hämäläinen Eveliina (b. 1984 Hyvinkää), Helsinki / painting

Ingman Lotta (b. 1978 Pori), Vihti / painting

Jurvanen Inka-Maaria (b. 1980 Espoo), Vantaa / drawing, painting

Kanto Hanna (b. 1981 Tornio), Helsinki / painting

Laakso Tuomo (b. 1980 Heinola), Helsinki / painting

Puolakka Anni (b. 1983 Oulu), Helsinki / video, performance

Regan Tomas (b. 1979 Tampere), Tampere / printmaking

Stereo Maria (b. 1979 Rauma), Sahalahti / sculpture

Kari Vehosalo KUVA: Sakari Piippo

Edvard Richter Award to Jyrki Siukonen

The Finnish Art Society presents the Edvard Richter Award annually in recognition of an outstanding art book or essay published during the year under review. The prize is valued at 10,000 euros.


The 2023 prize is awarded to artist and researcher Jyrki Siukonen (b. 1959, Tampere) for his long, distinguished career and diverse contributions as an art writer. Siukonen published two books during the year under review, Ensimmäinen — Carl Eneas Sjöstrandin istuva Porthan (‘The First – Carl Eneas Sjöstrand’s Seated Portrait of Porthan’, Finnish Literature Society, 2023) and Humpuukia ja hulluutta — Uuden taiteen vastaanotto 1910-luvun Suomessa (‘Folly and Foolery – The Reception of New Art in Finland in the 1910s’, Finnish Literature Society, 2023).  The jury additionally commended Siukonen’s essay ‘Aphrodite Takes the Heat’ published in Art Sauna (Serlachius Museums, Parvs, 2023) and the brief text ‘So Long, Salong’ in Salong 3+ (Parvs 2023).


Siukonen has been writing about art for decades. He has published books on topics such as the history of Finnish art, the art criticism institution, the Russian avant-garde and artistic research. The books reviewed by the jury demonstrated his talent for zooming in on details and using them as a springboard for engaging, well-informed scholarly writing. Siukonen has a highly captivating writing style. Equally at home in brief and long formats, he possesses a gift for bringing his content to life, both in the case of intriguing details and broader historical narratives. Like all good scholars, he has an uncompromising eye that knows where to search for a good story, an interesting theme, or curiosities previously overlooked in art history writing. He is able to endow even the strangest-seeming detours with historical relevance. Every detail is expertly contextualized, thoughtfully argued and presented insightfully for the reader to discover.


Siukonen’s literary style is characterized by its linguistic richness. In his Art Sauna essay, he employs deft metaphors, comparing the Finnish sauna to an “underworld” where even the dead are resurrected. In ‘Folly and Foolery’, he derides the narrow-mindedness of the low-brow North, lamenting how Finnish collections have been deprived of many international masterpieces due to the conservativism of the 1910s Finnish artworld. Siukonen recounts a key chapter in Finnish sculpture history in his book ‘The First’, which tells the story of the Henrik Gabriel Porthan monument by the Swedish sculptor Carl Eneas Sjöstrand. Unveiled in Turku in 1864, the sculpture was Finland’s very first public monument. Siukonen unearths every fascinating detail of its story, right down to the buttons on the sitter’s jacket.


The past autumn has seen intensification of debate concerning current standards of quality in academic research in the fine arts. In response to recent discourse, the jury wished to highlight Siukonen’s work as an exemplary sample of high-quality art scholarship. Siukonen is Finland’s first scholar to have completed a PhD in fine arts at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. He is a prolific art history writer who has made a pioneering contribution as an artist-scholar. His background as an artist finds reflection not in academic laxity, but conversely in his great breadth of self-reflexive contemplation and sharpness of vision. In his writing, all the best aspects of artistic research are woven together in a distinctive voice of great clarity.


Jyrki Siukonen completed his PhD in fine arts in 2001 and has since served as a professor and researcher at Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts. His book Mies palavassa hatussa (‘The Man in the Burning hat’, Finnish Literature Society) received the 2006 Lauri Jäntti Foundation nonfiction prize. Siukonen was the recipient of the Finnish State Prize for visual arts in 2017.

Jyrki Siukonen
MATILDA ENEGREN: Bearers, 2023, akvarelli, 116 x 160 cm

Grants awarded to young artists

Thirty young artists received a grant of 6,000 euros each. A total of 358 applications were received, three of which were submitted by artist collectives. Young artist grants are intended for professionally trained artists aged 35 or younger.


  1. Cemin Laura (b. 1992, Italy), Helsinki / performance, installation

  2. Choo Wen-Yi Säde Eddie (b. 1988, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia), Helsinki / installation, media art

  3. Coffin Alyssa (b. 1991, Attleboro, USA), Helsinki / performance, installation

  4. Enegren Matilda (b. 1989, Vaasa), Helsinki / painting

  5. Haapamäki Sofia (b. 1991, Turku), Helsinki / installation, painting

  6. Halonen Jemiina (b. 1988, Askola), Helsinki / printmaking, drawing

  7. Henttu Sini (b. 1988, Kouvola), Helsinki / installation, video

  8. Huotari Kaisa (b. 1994, Jyväskylä), Helsinki / painting, installation

  9. Hyrri Juliana (b. 1989, Kohtla-Järve, Estonia), Helsinki / painting, drawing

  10. Hyry Adele (b. 1994, Espoo), Helsinki / photography, installation

  11. Joki Verna (b. 1988, Tampere), Helsinki / drawing, painting

  12. Korhonen Siiri (b. 1992, Oulu), Helsinki / sculpture, textile art

  13. Käyhkö Maija (b. 1992, Savonlinna), Berlin / sculpture, installation

  14. Köykkä J.P. (b. 1987, Seinäjoki), Ylöjärvi / painting, installation

  15. Lietonen Eeva (b. 1987, Lahti), Helsinki / painting, sculpture

  16. Manuchar Zagros (b. 1990, Sulaimaniyya, Iraq), Helsinki / video, photography

  17. Niskanen Anna (b. 1990, Helsinki), Helsinki / photography, printmaking

  18. Pathirane Henrik (b. 1987, Stockholm, Sweden), Helsinki / conceptual art, installation

  19. Rahikainen Jelina (b. 1993, Espoo), Helsinki / painting, sculpture

  20. Ruuska Ville (b. 1987, Jyväskylä), Turku / sculpture, photography

  21. Salvesen Aleksander (b. 1990, Lieto), Helsinki / media art, sculpture

  22. Suomenrinne Lada (b. 1995, Murmansk, Russia), Espoo / photography, video

  23. Takala Anni (b. 1990, Lahti), Lappeenranta / drawing, printmaking

  24. Toija Leevi (b. 1998, Helsinki), Helsinki / video, installation

  25. Tvaltvadze Sauli (b. 1996, Lappeenranta), Helsinki / video, media art

  26. Uuttula Silja (b. 1988, Savitaipale), Joensuu / painting, drawing

  27. Vaarnamo Aarni (b. 1989, Helsinki), Helsinki / video, media art

  28. Varjo Fanny (b. 1995, Espoo), Helsinki / sculpture, installation

  29. Yrjölä Eero (b. 1990, Akaa), Helsinki / installation, photography

  30. Zhou Yujie (b. 1997, Chengdu, China), Helsinki / photography, video

AARNI VAARNAMO: Sibelius-jatkumo, 2020, pitkä elokuva 98min, 4k video, 35- 16- & 8mm filmi

Signe Tandefelt Grants

The Signe Tandefelt Grant is awarded to art critics and art writers. It is designed for the purpose promoting art writing and enlivening Finnish art criticism. A total of 37 applications were received this year, six of which were applications submitted by collectives. Nine applicants were awarded grants amounting to 10,000 euros in total.


  1. Hannula Mia (b. 1971, Turku), Turku / €1,000 / working grant for writing a critical essay on interculturalism

  2. Karjalainen Eero (b. 2001, Helsinki), Helsinki / €1,100 / travel grant for attending the 2024 Venice Biennale and Manifesta 15 Biennale

  3. Kolu Marja (b. 1956, Kemi), Kuni / €1,000 / travel grant for visiting and reviewing exhibitions in the regions of Ostrobothnia and Northern Ostrobothnia

  4. Koskela Minnamaria (b. 1970, Helsinki), Jyväskylä / €800 / travel grant for attending and reviewing the 2024 Venice Biennale

  5. Lecklin Johanna (b. 1972, Helsinki), Helsinki / €1,000 / to cover writers’ fees in an essay anthology

  6. Nyman Hannele (b. 1965, Helsinki), Helsinki / €1,200 / for writing a book about Finnish artists and their work

  7. Pulkkinen Joonas (b. 1988, Porvoo), Helsinki / €1,200 / travel grant for attending the Gwangju Biennale and writing about connections between South Korean contemporary art, Korean political history, and the international art market

  8. Sutinen Aino (b. 1983, Espoo), Helsinki / €1,000 / for writing reviews of comics and graphic novels in Sarjainfo periodical

  9. The Finnish Light Art Society FLASH / €1,700 / for hosting a critics’ seminar on light art and for publishing a related anthology of reviews.

About the Finnish Art Society

The Finnish Art Society was founded in 1846 to support Finnish artists and promote the practice and enjoyment of art. Its annual prizes and grants are decided by the Board, based on proposals submitted for its consideration by specialized committees.

Ducat Prize and Lifetime Achievement Award, Young Artists’ grants:

The members of the grants and awards committee are artist Antti Tanttu (chair), artist Heini Aho, artist Susanne Gottberg, Pessi Rautio, MA, and Riikka Stewen, PhD and lecturer.


Edvard Richter Award, Signe Tandefelt Grant:

The members of the literary committee are critics Helen Korpak, MA Fine Arts (chair), critic Sini Mononen, PhD, and writer and photographic artist Hanna Weselius, PhD Fine Arts.


William Thuring Prizes:

The members of the committee are Päivi Karttunen, MA (Board member) and Sarianne Soikkonen, MA (Board member).


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