Awarded support

Taike awards 15 state prizes to distinguished artists and art communities

The national arts councils of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike) have awarded state prizes for 2023 to distinguished artists, artist groups and art communities. This year, a State Prize for the Social Impact of Art was also awarded for the second time.
Lähikuva valtionpalkintojen kunniakirjapinosta.

State prizes are awarded in recognition of outstanding artistic work within the past three years, a long meritorious artistic career, or a contribution to a specific artform. The combined value of the state prizes is 370,000 euros.

The awarding of state prizes is decided annually by national arts councils, which are expert bodies of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike). The State Prize for Children’s Culture and the State Prize for the Social Impact of Art are decided by the Director of Taike based on proposals by the arts councils.

The awards were presented at Dance House Helsinki on 21 November 2023.


State prizes awarded in 2023:

State Prize for Architecture

The National Council for Architecture and Design has awarded the State Prize for Architecture 2023 to Nomaji Landscape Architects.

Nomaji was awarded for its meritorious and pioneering work in the areas of high-quality landscape architecture, innovative design and holistic sustainability.

The design activities of Nomaji Landscape Architects are known for their comprehensive approach to the design of both built and unbuilt environments. Their designs create solutions to the massive challenges of increasing environmental crises, such as urban flooding, nature loss, heat islands and growing social inequality.

The focus of Nomaji’s landscape architecture is on the wellbeing of biodiversity and thereby also the creation of a comfortable and liveable habitat and living environment for people. The creative work of the office combines art, science and social interaction. The merits of its design activity include large-scale projects ranging from park and yard designs to green construction plans for entire cities and workshops for children. Actors like Nomaji are needed to nurture hope in society, as well as in the fields of architecture and landscape architecture, and to solve the large-scale environmental problems created by urban planning over the past century.

Founded in 2015, Nomaji’s operations are based on the design of high-quality environments for people, as well as on comprehensive innovative design and an ecological perspective. In addition, the office has organised science afternoons and workshops for children. Some of Nomaji’s shareholders and employees also work as researchers. Science is an important dimension and starting point in the office’s work. Nomaji’s recent plans include, for example, the Kaapelipuisto park (2023), the green network and ecosystem services in Uusikaupunki (2022), Helsinki Summer Streets (2022), Kintterö Health Forest (2021–2022), the Postinkantaja yard in Helsinki (2022), the Sipoonlahti school yard (2020) and the Keilaniemi shoreline vision (2020).

State Prize for Cinema

The National Council for Audiovisual Art has awarded the State Prize for Cinema 2023 to the Pirkanmaa Film Centre.

The Pirkanmaa Film Centre was awarded for its significant and long-term work in promoting film art and film culture in Pirkanmaa and nationwide.

Pirkanmaa Film Centre’s has been active in film distribution for fifteen years. As a result, dozens of documentary films and other smaller films have been screened in cinemas all over Finland. Without the Pirkanmaa Cinema Centre, these films would not have been distributed, and many Finns would have been deprived of the cinema experience. Films distributed by the Pirkanmaa Film Centre have been awarded over a dozen Jussi Awards, Finland’s premier film industry prizes.

Pirkanmaa Film Centre has also been active in influencing film policies, and it has contributed to ensuring that film culture is promoted elsewhere than in southernmost Finland.

Originally founded 40 years ago, Pirkanmaa Film Centre (PEK) is one of the oldest film centres in Finland. The core of its operations are cinema operations at the Arthouse Cinema Niagara in Tampere, the touring cinema Filmipyörä in Pirkanmaa, cooperation with film festivals, the national distribution of films, regional workshops, and film and media education. 

State Prize for the Performing Arts 

The National Council for the Performing Arts has awarded the State Prize for the Performing Arts 2023 to Marja Uusitalo and the Performance Arts Centre Eskus.

Costume designer Marja Uusitalo was awarded in recognition of her meritorious artistic career and her significant role in the development of scenography education.

Uusitalo’s costume design is based on the joy of working together. It is known for its ingenuity and edgy beauty. The style of her designs varies from the wild anarchic joy of colour and form to a life-flavoured and harmonious epoch. All her works share a comprehensive sense of style. In her career as an educator, Uusitalo has acted as a warmly encouraging mentor for an entire generation of scenographers.

Marja Uusitalo (b. 1956) has worked extensively in the field of the performing arts since 1979. She has designed costumes for theatre production and more than 60 contemporary dance performances, as well as for opera, TV and film productions. Uusitalo’s work has also featured in international exhibitions and at the Theatre Museum in Helsinki. She worked at Aalto University (formerly the University of Art and Design Helsinki) developing the costume design course that was introduced in 2003 and headed the course until 2011.

The Performance Arts Centre Eskus, a platform for collaboration and meeting place for performers, was awarded in recognition of its significant work as a supporter and enabler of performing artists.

Founded in 2009, Eskus comprises 25 actors who represent Finland’s absolute top in the development of the performing arts. Its membership includes groups, collectives, festivals and stages, all united by an unwavering trust in the uniqueness of the performing arts. Members are also united by their desire to contribute to the development and visibility of the performing arts.

Having operated in Suvilahti, Helsinki, since autumn 2011, Eskus rents premises and serves as a residence and meeting place for numerous freelance artists and groups. Its activities reach around 250 artists and producers working in the field of the performing arts each year and are invaluable for performing arts professionals operating in Finland and for the vitality of the entire sector. 

State Prize for Literature

The National Council for Literature has awarded the State Prize for Literature 2023 to author J. K. Ihalainen and translator Alice Martin

Writer, printer, publisher and translator J. K. Ihalainen was awarded for his long, varied and uncompromising career in literature. Ihalainen is an exceptionally versatile author in the field of literature.

J. K. Ihalainen (b. 1957) had his first poetry collection published in Copenhagen’s Christiania in 1978. Since then, he has written books in Finnish, Danish, Swedish and English. His works have been illustrated by the likes of Outi Heiskanen and William S. Burroughs. He has published 35 poetry collections and twelve Finnish translations.

His strong do-it-yourself mentality can also be seen in the publishing house he runs, Palladium Kirjat, whose titles he writes, translates or edits, and prints himself using power from the Siuronkoski rapids, while also managing the distribution of the books. Ihalainen has been doing this persistent cultural work with his uncompromising attitude for decades. He is also known as a hypnotic performer and has been the artistic director of the popular Annikki Poetry Festival since 2003.

Translator, publisher and educator Alice Martin has worked as a translator of English literature, especially poetry, for more than four decades. She is also known as a skilled and sensitive editor of Finnish translations.

Alice Martin (b. 1959) has translated several children’s books into Finnish, including Lewis Carroll’s classics Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Though the Looking-Glass and The Hunting of the Snark, as well as George Eliot’s masterpiece Daniel Deronda. Her poetry translations also include the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and numerous other authors.

Alice Martin has served as publishing editor and partly as a translator in a major project by the publishing house WSOY to retranslate the plays of William Shakespeare, as she specialises in Shakespeare and old standard poetry. Martin has also had an impressive career as a trainer of Finnish translators. Dozens of Finnish translators have been taught inspiring lessons in her translation workshops over the years.

State Prize for Children’s Culture   

The Arts Promotion Centre Finland has awarded the State Prize for Children’s Culture 2023 to Kaustisen Näppärit.

Kaustisen Näppärit was awarded for its music pedagogical activities, which have inspired thousands of children and young people to enjoy music and traditions in a communal way. The Näppäri Method is a music pedagogy and philosophy of music education developed by Mauno Järvelä that has earned a reputation for decades in Finland and abroad. The extraordinary importance of the Näppäri Method lies in how it encourages everyone to play and create a life-long relationship with music.

The songs in the Näppäri repertoire are composed, selected and arranged so that each instrument and player can find something to play that corresponds to their own skill level. The performances are led by professional musicians, many of whom are music professionals who started as Näppäri kids and have now reached adulthood. There is no better way to experience music than playing it together with a huge gathering of top professionals and beginners all together.

State Prize for Media Art  

The National Council for Audiovisual Art has awarded the State Prize for Media Art 2023 to visual artist Ville Kallio.  

Ville Kallio was awarded in recognition of his meritorious work in the field of media and games as art. Kallio’s solo video game Cruelty Squad (2021) is artistically, content-wise and technically an ambitious and successful work in which his distinctive style emerges, both visually and narratively.

Cruelty Squad envisions a hyper-capitalist dystopian future in which everything is commercialised. At first impression, the work is a visually harrowing, hectic and skill-demanding video game. The more players immerse themselves in the game, the more they will find a lot of sharp social criticism within it, as it raises deep questions about human dignity and justice. Cruelty Squad is an internationally successful, artistically uncompromising and original work whose creator deserves to be noted for his artistic achievements also in Finland.

Ville Kallio (b. 1990) is a visual artist from Helsinki who works in many fields, including drawing, painting, video and sculptures, and in recent years especially with video games. His works have been shown internationally, including at the Feels Like Memeplex exhibition in Plymouth in 2023 and the Pet Cemetery exhibition in Athens in 2019.

State Prize for Multidisciplinary Art 

The National Council for Multidisciplinary Art has awarded the State Prize for Multidisciplinary Art 2023 to the Myymälä2 cooperative.

Myymälä2 was awarded in recognition of its original and truly multidisciplinary community, which operates proudly at the grassroots level. Myymälä2 is an open and safe meeting place for visual and performance arts, experimental music, design and street culture. It is truly diverse - both the cooperative’s actors and artists represent different artforms and cultural backgrounds. Its operations are active, renewing, long-term and uncompromising.

Myymälä2 is an artist-led exhibition and event venue in the centre of Helsinki that was founded in 2002. In the current space, which also includes a bookstore focused on independent publishers, operations began in 2003. Over the years, Myymälä2 has taken on the role of presenting the work of young and immigrant artists in particular.

State Prize for Design  

The National Council for Architecture and Design has awarded the State Prize for Design 2023 to fashion designer Samu-Jussi Koski.

Samu-Jussi Koski was awarded in recognition of his meritorious artistic work as a fashion designer. Koski is known for clothes that combine an unembellished design, high-quality materials and engaging atmosphere or story. Even after years, the products of the Samuji clothing brand created by Koski are the most sought-after treasures of used clothing and online stores. They have stood the test of time, and many have achieved classic status.

This year, Koski has launched two new brands: Jeans & Towels and Borse e Cose. In addition, Koski has designed collections for Ratia and Lapuan Kankurit. All his designs share the same trend-free, recognisable and timeless aesthetic. Through the creative agency he founded, S&Co, Koski also helps other companies with their design and brand work. The designer’s wide scope is also reflected in his theatre costumes, most recently for Röda rummet at Lilla Teatern.

Samu-Jussi Koski (b. 1975) studied fashion design at the Institute of Design and Fine Arts in Lahti and Polimoda Fashion School in Florence, Italy. He worked for six years at Marimekko, eventually as Creative Director of its clothing line. After his career at Marimekko, Koski founded Samuji in 2009. Samuji transferred to new ownership in 2021. In the same year, Koski designed the costumes for the Helsinki City Theatre’s play Niin kuin taivaassa. Koski has received several recognitions for his work, including Muodin Glooria in 2008, the Elle Style Award in 2010, Newcomer of the Year in 2010, and the Golden Hanger fashion award in 2012. 

State Prize for Music 

The National Council for Music has awarded the State Prize for Music 2023 to saxophonist-composer Linda Fredriksson and piano artist Ilmo Ranta

Linda Fredriksson was awarded for them meritorious work in Finnish jazz music. Fredriksson has quickly emerged as one of Finland’s brightest saxophonists and an internationally recognised name in Finnish jazz.

As a composer and musician, Fredriksson is an imaginary storyteller, sensitive and surprising. As an instrumentalist, they are a virtuoso who has them own recognisable sound as a trademark. On them first solo album, Juniper, Fredriksson plays just as much as the composition requires.

As a musician, Linda Fredriksson (b. 1985) has performed with many of the leading jazz groups in Finland, including Superpostion, the Ricky-Tick Big Band and Mopo. In addition, they have composed music for theatre, films and performance art works.

Ilmo Ranta was awarded in recognition of his meritorious career as a piano artist and teacher. Ranta has been a goal-oriented and visionary educator of generations of Finnish singers and chamber musicians, and as a piano artist he has been one of the leading forces of Finnish song art for many years.

Ranta has coached numerous singers and influenced the rise of the newer elite group of lied pianists through his artistically high-quality teaching work. He has worked in numerous singing competitions as a pianist, expert and member of the jury, including as a pianist in the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition and as a member of the jury in the national Lappeenranta Singing Competition.

Ilmo Ranta (b. 1956) graduated from the Sibelius Academy and continued his studies with leading pianists abroad in lied, chamber music and contemporary music. Since his first concert in 1985, he has performed as an orchestral soloist and chamber musician in Finland and abroad. He is especially known as a lied pianist, whose most famous duo partners have included Karita Mattila, Monica Groop, Jorma Hynninen, Sauli Tiilikainen, Petteri Salomaa, Lilli Paasikivi, Topi Lehtipuu and Piia Komsi.

State Prize for Illustrations and Comics  

The National Council for Multidisciplinary Art has awarded the State Prize for Illustrations and Comics 2023 to comic artist Juliana Hyrri.  

Juliana Hyrri is a versatile artist who works in the fields of contemporary art, illustration art and comics, naturally crossing the boundaries between these artforms. All the different forms of image-making can be seen in her personal style.

Juliana Hyrri (b. 1989), who moved from Estonia to Finland as a child, addresses in her comics the experiences and world of the child with insight and compassion. In her work Päivänkakkarameri (Suuri Kurpitsa 2022), she touchingly describes the immigrant experience from a child’s point of view and in a child’s words.

In her illustrations, Hyrri layers lines and painted strokes. Her masterfully free pen and brush strokes combined with her way of perceiving the world create vivid human and animal figures, interiors and landscapes. Hyrri’s recognisable aesthetics are intertwined with the contents of the images in a way that makes her a distinctive and powerful artist.

State Prize for the Social Impact of Art 

The Arts Promotion Centre Finland has awarded the State Prize for the Social Impact of Art 2023 to ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival.

Organised in Kuopio since 2002, ANTI is a multidisciplinary contemporary art festival focusing on the performing arts that has embedded itself in its community exceptionally well. The artistically ambitious festival has demonstrated how art can address challenging and complex social phenomena and make them visible to large audiences through the means of art.

The ANTI festival works completely within its own framework and has an artistic impact both locally and internationally. The internationally profiled festival of site-specific contemporary art produces high-quality works of art in the heart of North Savo and is accessible to all residents. Widely visible in the city centre, the festival is proof of how curated presentations of live art can shake up our understanding of the world and leave lasting traces on the way we work together as humans and as part of the planetary whole. 

State Prize for the Visual Arts 

The National Council for the Visual Arts has awarded the State Prize for the Visual Arts 2023 to artist and film director Saara Ekström

Saara Ekström was awarded for her distinguished career in the field of the visual arts. Ekström is a versatile, intelligent and curious artist. Her long-term engagement with complex subjects is evident in her skilfully executed works that challenge the viewer and impress both through their philosophical conceptualisation and high-quality and professional implementation. In the artistic entities she creates, Ekström succeeds in creating new spaces in which we can focus on important themes that touch us all.

The artistic output of Saara Ekström (b. 1965) includes a wide range of film and photographic works, spatial art and installations. Her works have been exhibited widely in Finland and abroad since the 1990s. Ekström’s merits include solo exhibitions in Finland’s leading art museums and most recently an impressive exhibition at Kunsthalle Helsinki.


Further information

•    Architecture and Design: Henri Terho, Head of Arts Support, Taike, t. +358 295 330 901
•    Cinema and Media Art: Sari Ilmola, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 830
•    Performing Arts: Marja Susi, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 894
•    Literature: Katariina Kummala, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 812
•    Visual Arts: Kirsi Väkiparta, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 724
•    Children’s Culture: Henri Terho, Head of Arts Support, Taike, t. +358 295 330 901
•    Multidisciplinary Art: Tuulikki Koskinen, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 728
•    Music: Salla Mistola, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 875
•    Illustrations and Comics: Tuulikki Koskinen, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 728
•    Social Impact of Art: Henri Terho, Head of Arts Support, Taike, t. +358 295 330 901