State prizes awarded to 16 artists

The national arts councils of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike) have awarded state prizes in the fields of architecture, cinema, the performing arts, literature, the visual arts, media art, multidisciplinary art, design, music, comics and photographic art. The value of each state prize is 14,000 euros. The prizes were awarded by Sampo Terho, Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport, at the Taike Gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of the arts councils that was held in Helsinki on 27 November.

Altogether 16 artists were awarded at the gala held by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike). “Art rejuvenates society, creates experiences and creates economic growth,” Minister Sampo Terho said. “The work of creating art is performed by artists. State prizes are a way of recognising this work.”

The State Prize for Architecture was awarded to two architects, Trevor Harris and Hennu Kjisik, while the State Prize for Design was awarded to designer and illustrator Klaus Haapaniemi.

Film director Zaida Bergroth was awarded the State Prize for Cinema and accordionist Maria Kalaniemi the State Prize for Music.

Harpsichordist Marianna Henriksson and choreographer Anna Mustonen were awarded the State Prize for the Performing Arts, as were dramaturg, theatre director and performance artist Anna-Mari Karvonen and dramaturg Marja Louhija.

Author Maarit Verronen and translator Vappu Orlov were awarded the State Prize for Literature.

The State Prize for the Visual Arts was awarded to visual artist Sasha Huber, media artist Anneli Nygren, comic artist Kati Rapia and fine art photographer Susanna Majuri, while the State Prize for Multidisciplinary Art was awarded to artist Annette Arlander.

The national arts councils are expert bodies of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike) that decide annually on the awarding of state prizes, each within its own field of the arts. State prizes may be awarded to individual artists or groups of artists in recognition of outstanding artistic work or performance within the past three years. State prizes can also be awarded to artists in recognition of their long-term contribution to a specific artform. Art associations or other communities may also be awarded. State prizes are funded by proceeds from Veikkaus Oy, Finland’s state-owned gaming company.

Grounds for awarding state prizes:

State Prize for Architecture

Architects Trevor Harris (born 1949) and Hennu Kjisik (born 1948) have enriched the Finnish and international field of architecture for decades. Their shared studio has created designs of the highest quality and won numerous prizes, most recently the Hakaniemenranta idea competition this year, while also producing exhibitions, seminars, international development projects and research. As professors, both Harris and Kjisik have shared their knowledge and enthusiasm with new generations of architects and emphasised the high professional ethics demanded of architects.

The State Prize for Architecture is awarded by the National Council for Architecture.

State Prize for Cinema

Film director Zaida Bergroth (born 1977) makes artistically uncompromising films that speak with their own voice and leave an impression on viewers. Her films share the theme of maturing into individuals. Bergroth stands out in particular for her portrayals of the inner tensions and relationships within families, as illustrated also in her most recent film, Miami. This powerful sibling drama offers its actresses the roles of broken yet strong women with whom viewers can identify, as well as surprising plot twists.

The State Prize for Cinema is awarded by the National Council for Audiovisual Art.

State Prize for the Performing Arts

Harpsichordist Marianna Henriksson (born 1983) and choreographer Anna Mustonen (born 1983) have successfully opened new perspectives on the dialogue between dance and music. Di anima et di corpo, which debuted in 2015 and combines early Italian baroque music and dance, and especially this year’s Maria Vesper, based on the music of Claudio Monteverdi, represent major artistic accomplishments in terms of the development of dance and music culture in Finland. Maria Vesper was a major production at Kaapelitehdas in Helsinki that brought together the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, singers, dancers and visual design in a way that can be considered an artistic breakthrough.

Dramaturg, theatre director and performance artist Anna-Mari Karvonen (born 1982) is one of the central voices of her generation in the field of the performing arts that seek new forms of expression. Her artistic work is characterised by innovative collaboration with multidisciplinary and collective groups, including Und er libet and VIBES. Karvonen has directed many works for theatres and different stages, including most recently the Blaue Frau group’s Windows, Peggy Pickit ser Guds ansikte at Svenska teatern and Amor Fati at the Kiasma Theatre.

Dramaturg Marja Louhija (born 1947) has worked with distinction as a dramaturg, playwright and theatre teacher in Kajaani, Oulu, Helsinki and elsewhere for over four decades. In the past twenty years she has helped develop contemporary theatre and new forms of applied theatre; her directors’ courses in theatrical expression have irreversibly changed Finnish theatre by broadening its field of activities and renewing its forms of expression.

The State Prize for the Performing Arts is awarded by the National Council for the Performing Arts.

State Prize for Literature

Author Maarit Verronen (born 1965) has been awarded the State Prize for Literature in recognition of her accomplishments as a pioneer in Finland of speculative fiction. Her high-quality literary output comprises almost twenty novels and collections of short stories. Verronen is a unique author whose writings reflect an impressive amount of background work. She combines elements of fantasy, science fiction and dystopia with topical themes. Her literature explores the relationship between the community and individuals who follow their own path, the escalation of capitalism and environmental catastrophe.

During her own career, Vappu Orlov (born 1943) has taught an entire generation of Finnish translators to create natural, readable texts. Orlov allows the translator’s own voice to be heard but is quick to recognise if something is not quite right in a sentence. As a translator into the Finnish language, Orlov has swept the dust off old Russian storytellers; her sense of humour comes shining through in the stories of Nikolai Gogol, for example. In her most recent translation, Neuvostoihmisen loppu (Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets), a documentary novel by Svetlana Alexievich, Orlov successfully brings the voices of ordinary Russians close to Finnish readers.

The State Prize for Literature is awarded by the National Council for Literature.

State Prize for the Visual Arts

The art of visual artist Sasha Huber Saarikko (born 1975) logically seeks justice and historical corrections. Her works exploring the history of colonialism are powerful combinations of ethical demands and aesthetic expression that appeal to international audiences. Huber uses many forms of expression in her art: performances, photography, moving images, sculpture, textual documentation and sound. Her works are characterised by collective thought and collective deeds that reinforce cultural and political pluralism.

The State Prize for the Visual Arts is awarded by the National Council for the Visual Arts.

State Prize for Media Art

Media artist Anneli Nygren (born 1958) has had a long career stretching from the early 1980s to the present day that has included works of fiction, documentaries, animations and music videos. Nygren’s art is uncompromising and its style unique. She explores important and serious themes in her works, but they also include fresh do-it-yourself expressions, sharp humour and self-irony. Nygren is central to the history of Finnish media art but also strongly engaged with the present – as a mysterious and multifaceted retro-Anneli.

The State Prize for Media Art is awarded by the National Council for Audiovisual Art.

State Prize for Multidisciplinary Art

Annette Arlander (born 1956) is a pioneer in Finnish performance art and artistic research who is educated as a theatre director and earned a Master of Arts in philosophy and Doctor of Art in theatre and drama. She has served as a professor at the Theatre Academy Helsinki, Academy of Fine Arts and Stockholm University of the Arts. In her artistic work, Arlander combines art and research. She is a versatile artist whose artwork is focused on performing landscape by means of video or recorded voice. Her strength lies in her ability to move between the traditions of performance art, video art and environmental art.

The State Prize for Multidisciplinary Art is awarded by the National Council for Mobility and Diversity in the Arts.

State Prize for Design

Designer and illustrator Klaus Haapaniemi (born 1970) is active broadly and internationally in the field of design. His easily recognisable and unique style interprets Finnish folk traditions and decorative arts in a modern way. He draws inspiration from art, ballet, music and fairy tales. Haapaniemi’s virtuosity stretches from decorative designs for mass-produced tableware to unique art glass, from textiles and furniture to hand-printed wallpaper, and from space installations to opera costumes. He can truly be called a Renaissance man for the 21st century.

The State Prize for Design is awarded by the National Council for Architecture and Design.

State Prize for Music

Accordionist Maria Kalaniemi (born 1964) has developed her own identifiable accordion style that combines virtuosic skills with sensitive and powerful emotions. As a composer and musician, she has expanded the traditional role of her instrument in folk music. Musically she draws on both rune singing and her Finnish-Swedish roots. Kalaniemi has worked together with numerous other musicians, and she has also educated new generations of musicians and performed around the world. Most recently, she became the first representative of Finnish folk music to be made a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

The State Prize for Music is awarded by the National Council for Music.

State Prize for Comic Art

Visual artist and comic artist Kati Rapia (born 1972) is an uncompromising, characterful and unique storyteller and master of multiple forms of visual expression. Her comics create collage-like aesthetics that are exhibited in galleries and whose stories and images make sharp observations about the world. Her recent comic book Pyrstötähti (Comet) is an exceptional work of art in the field of contemporary Finnish comics and a skilful example of the possibilities of telling history by combining different kinds of sources in a new way.

The State Prize for Comic Art is awarded by the National Council for the Visual Arts.

State Prize for Photographic Art

The images of fine art photographer Susanna Majuri (s. 1978) repeat certain themes, such as water, Northern landscapes and people, yet each photograph is unique and visually engaging. Combining elements of reality and dreams, her photographs express excerpts from stories, emotions and states of mind. Since her debut exhibition in 2004, Majuri has continue to exhibit both in Finland and abroad. Her particular imagery and use of colour have influenced the visual thinking of a young generation of photographic artists.

The State Prize for Photographic Art is awarded by the National Council for the Visual Arts.

Further information:

- Architecture and Design: Lea Halttunen, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 713

- Cinema and Media Art: Sari Ilmola, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 830

- Performing Arts: Mari Karikoski, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 706

- Literature: Ansa Aarnio, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 701

- Visual Arts, Comic Art and Photographic Art: Henri Terho, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 901

- Multidisciplinary Art: Kirsi Väkiparta, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 724

- Music: Hanna Susitaival, Special Advisor, Taike, t. +358 295 330 910

- Media enquiries: Eija Ristimäki, Head of Communications, Taike, t. +358 295 330 722

Press images from the Taike Gala are available on Taike’s Flickr page.


Arts Promotion Centre Finland
Hakaniemenranta 6, PL 1001
00531  Helsinki

Tel. +358 295 330 700

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