I spent such a short time in Seinäjoki that I only managed to find three different statues. Luckily all of them tell an interesting story.
An elephant is quite a strange sight in a sleepy city like Seinäjoki. In Finland there aren’t even any elephants in zoos! The last elephant – Vanni – left Finland in 2005. Unfortunately he (or she – I have no idea!) had been badly neglected even before the move and sadly he died only a year later in Ukraine.
It seems that the Seinäjoki elephant has nothing to do with Vanni though although I’d like to think it’s a tribute to him. It’s an origami elephant, made of recycled materials. It was designed by Landys Roimola for Sienäjoki’s yearly festival Provinssirock. The elephant is actually a statement as it weighs 1000 kg which is the same amount of rubbish as two Finns produce in a year.
This lifelike horse statue was found in a park. Horses were very important in the war effort in Finland as in 1939 there were only 53 000 cars in the country but 400 000 horses! For the war, 72 000 horses were “recruited”, many from private owners. This statue is by Herman Joutsen.
During the Winter War (a military contact with the Soviets and Finland in 1939-1940), 7200 horses lost their lives. Many returned to the countryside in the Spring of 1940, as horses were needed for work on farms.
Horses were called upon again during the Continuation War (1941-1944) when 45 000 horses joined the effort. Out of these as many as 15 000 died.
Even if horses won’t ever know that a statue was erected for them, I think it’s a wonderful and very moving way to honour these beautiful and brave animals.
Now last, let me introduce you to a sculpture with the name – A Big Hug. It’s by Päivi Rintaniemi and it represents community and caring for others. This huge statue welcomed visitors to the housing fair area in Seinäjoki all summer. It’s quite sympathetic don’t you think?
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