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Fantasy Feasts


The Kalevala for 9th-graders

As part of its Kalevala art exhibition, the Ateneum Art Museum arranged a museum pedagogics project called Peijaiset (Fantasy Feasts). The project was led by artists Lea and Pekka Kantonen, while collaboration with schools was planned and carried out by students from the time and space arts department of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Two classes of ninth-graders from Helsinki comprehensive schools were also involved.

The aim of the project was to bring the Kalevala, Kalevala art and folk poetry within the pupils' reach in a lively and meaningful way, and to draw them in as active contributors. The project also studied how artistic processes could be taken into the school world. Thus it acted as a learning process for all those involved. The various Fantasy Feasts projects are exhibited in the Kalevala exhibition project area in March-April and June.

Producer: Ateneum Art Museum.
Project leaders: artists Lea and Pekka Kantonen.
Art students involved: Kalle Ahonen, Jani Karimäki, Sami Maalas, Annette Nordqvist, Suvi Nurmi, Heidi Saramäki and Lauri Wuolio.
Collaborating schools: Aleksis Kivi School class 9 B with teacher Reeta Aarnio and Pukinmäki Upper Level class 9 with teacher Reetta Haapamäki.


Fantasy feasts in the project area:

27.2.–22.3. Fantasy feasts: SPELLS WORKSHOP
24.3.–12.4. Fantasy feasts: BEAR RING
15.4.–3.5. Fantasy feasts: NATURE AND ME
2.6.–18.6. Fantasy feasts: KULLERVO WORKSHOP


In the Kullervo workshop, six 9th-graders with an immigrant background at Pukinmäki comprehensive school compared their own stories with that of Kullervo. The things that these young people have in common with Kullervo include a home lost in a fratricidal war, and growing up in a strange culture. We discussed Paavo Haavikko's text Kullervo around a fire by the Vantaanjoki river and in a darkened room of mirrors at the school. In this video, Haavikko's text merges with the students' own monologues, creating a layered whole that is both autobiographical and fictional, as well as political. The aim was to give these students a chance to express themselves, encouraging them to produce text through studying.
Sami Maalas

15.4.–3.5. NATURE AND ME

This project approaches the poetry of the Kalevala more through form than through content. We strive to fragment the rune-singing phenomenon into structural parts and to study their effect on the story-telling and improvisation. We see rune-singing as social interplay in which the hypnotic structure permits the story to be formulated in many variations. Basically, it involves the same kind of phenomenon as the freestyle rap that emerged a few decades ago in the United States, in which the rap singers improvise their rhymes and lyric on top of rhythmical music. The project was carried out in workshops with ninth-graders from Pukinmäki Upper Level school in winter 2008–2009. The project's name refers to our environment and how it influences our sense of self.
Heidi Saramäki and Lauri Wuolio

24.3.–12.4. BEAR RING

The exhibition documents the performance group's contribution to the Kalevala course process. The group comprised Academy of Fine Arts students and pupils in class 9B of the Aleksis Kivi School. The workshop began in January 2009 when the students produced a multimedia presentation from key stories and characters in the Kalevala, which they showed to class 9B. During the following week, a presentation was prepared using the technology available in the Ateneum Hall. The starting point was the mythical world of the Kalevala and the bear feast ritual of the ancient Finns, presented using contemporary methods. The presentation involved various media, such as video and sound, and theatrical methods.
Kalle Ahonen, Jani Karimäki and Annette Nordqvist


In January 2009 six pupils from class 9B of the Aleksis Kivi School took part in a spells workshop that I ran, comprising three meetings at the Ateneum. Initially we went over some basic facts about the Kalevala metre: eight syllables, initial alliteration and repetition. To start off, we jointly composed one spell, on the subject - chosen by the pupils - of "summoning spring". After that, each pupil wrote down one subject on paper and these were divided out arbitrarily among the group. This meant each participant composed his or her own spell on a subject provided by someone else. The process was repeated several times. We also experimented with each pupil chanting his/her own spells in a ring to bodily drumming. We also experimented with writing poems of praise and abuse in the manner of Karelian wedding songs. The texts produced by the spells workshop are now on show in the project area, together with some interim-stage texts. The idea is that exhibition visitors should go on filling the walls with their own spells. Sit down at a table, read the instructions and start writing! What would you like to summon up or banish for ever?
Suvi Nurmi