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Maria Huhmarniemi


Artist of the Month

Korundi House of Culture, Rovaniemi

Every day at 11-18

Mond, Sonne und Regenbogen

Maria Huhmarniemi (born 1977) is artist living and working in Rovaniemi. In her exhibtion ‘Mond, Sonne und Regenbogen’ she is presenting sculptures from the Himmeli-series.

"I started making the series of Himmeli-sculptures in reaction to a comment in 2011 by the True Finns Party, proposing that only Finnish nationalistic fine arts should be supported by the Finnish state. They admired fine arts from the period of National Romanticism, (the Golden Age of Finnish art), but ignored the fact that Finnish art has always been influenced by other countries and cultures.

Himmeli is a traditional Finnish decorative mobile. It is made from short strips of rye straw tied together with string to form a complex and symmetrical three-dimensional structure. It is used as Christmas decoration that hangs over dining tables in many Finnish homes. What is less well known is that the origin of himmeli is thought to be a canopy decoration used in Medieval and Renaissance festivities in Central-Europe. The word himmeli has origins in the Swedish and German language: ‘himmel’ means ‘sky and heaven’.

I began making Himmeli-sculptures by extending traditional decorations that my mother made from rye and lake straws. I morphed these symmetric forms into free and wild sculptures using coloured plastic drinking straws. I later created several series of himmeli sculptures: ‘Sterni’, in reference to stars, a big blue sculpture ‘Haus’ representing a house, and ‘Rose I-V’.

Plastic drinking straws are available in Finland in blue, red, yellow and green. These four colors are also known as the Sámi national colors. They are used in Sámi flag and dresses. In the flag there is a two colored ring in which the blue half symbolizes moon and red half sun. In the series “Lapp Himmel, Mond und Sonne” I play with these Sámi colors and figures of the moon and sun.

I made the sculpture ‘Regenbogen’ (Rainbow) from plastic drinking straws that varied in colour as a result of the industrial production process."

More information: Maria Huhmarniemi, +358 40 7639948, maria.huhmarniemi(at)