Tag Archives: Kalevala

Build a Tower

What would my dream work-place be like? It would carry a warm feeling, with wood on the walls and woods outside the walls, in which my mind could wander freely, through big windows. It would be isolated enough from the craziness of cities, so that i could sing at the top of my lungs and of my own craziness, without bothering others, then compose and write, within a bubble of peace

On a little piece of land of Espoo, north-west of Helsinki, lies a rather surprising building, half a house and half a castle, called Tarvaspää. Too humble to appeal to the nouveau-riche and too strange for the tastes of the conservative & wealthy, it used to be the home of an artist.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela was born in Pori in 1865 and died of pneumonia in Stockholm, Sweeden, in 1931. Within the space of his 66 years of life, Akseli managed to unite two historical enemies : the army world and the world of arts.

Simply, pragmatically, without betraying his artistic soul.

The Order of the Cross of Liberty, initiated by commander-in-chief Mannerheim who asked for Akseli to design it… Do not be mislead by the swastikas on the medal. This ancient and sacred religious symbol had not yet been stigmatised by its association with Nazism

I look at the costumes and at the medals he designed for the finnish army. I look at the paintings, the frescoes, the stained glass and pieces of furniture.

Paintwork of the National Museum’s Kalevala frescoes on the basis of the frescoes for the Paris World’s Fair

It all worked in circles,
army men,
artist man,
museum directors,
city leaders,
the finnish land,

They fed the artist
and he gave them clothes,
one common visual space
inside which they could unite.

And i’m thinking, that when we let down the barriers of prejudice, and everyone can be who they were born to be, freely, we can all contribute, into building one entity.

I walk up the stairs leading to the first and second floors inside the tower and i see the light, entering from every side of the tower, from every window.

Inside the Tower of Tarvaspää in 2017

Build a tower, build a dream, and let others help doing it.

Did Akseli feel closer to the Gods when he painted high up in his tower?

“How I dreamed of my own studio, large, spacious and well-lit, where thoughts and ideas could come of their own accord, without the pangs of labour.” – Akseli Gallen-Kallela



*This article was published in portuguese language in cultural webzine Rockarama : https://www.rockarama.com.br/build-a-tower/