Saturday June 22, 2024

Pakarinen wins Ahtisaari’s grave memorial design competition

Published : 14 May 2024, 03:37

  DF Report
Harri Pakarinen´s Blessed. Photo: Finnish government.

The first prize in the competition for a grave memorial honouring former President Martti Ahtisaari has been awarded to Harri Pakarinen for his design Blessed, said a government press release on Monday.

The competition was of a high artistic standard, and the 171 entries that were approved were highly diverse.

Prizes were awarded to three entries and one received a commendation.

According to the judging committee, the entries took well into consideration the dignity associated with a presidential grave memorial while also recognising the more personal aspects of the memorial.

Many artists based their designs on Ahtisaari’s life’s work as a mediator for peace.

The idea for the winner of the first prize Blessed (EUR 12,000) came from the Bible verse “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). The key symbol of the memorial is olive branch, which as a symbol for peace dates back to ancient Greek mythology, and which is also remembered from the UN emblem and held by the dove of peace in its peak.

The judging committee considered that the design was delightfully simple and of an impressive size. The simple memorial sculptured from green granite from Ylämaa (Baltic Green) is well positioned with the grave site, which is quite wide. The materials and visual appearance are peaceful and will stand the test of time, but there is also a powerful and touching call for peace.

The second prize (EUR 7,000) was awarded to Aleksi Kraama’s design Peace.

“The background and story for the geometry of the surface of the light-coloured stone plate bring us joy of discovering something new and lead people to think about space and eternity. In a poetic way, the design is created from three waves that start from a centre point and meet each other,” said the committee.

The third prize (EUR 4,000) was awarded to Joakim Breitenstein’s design Tones. In this design a porous wall is built from used bricks. The idea is to find the bricks from locations that were meaningful for Martti Ahtisaari’s life and career.

“Through its form and materials the design shows different kinds of ideas about recycling, building the future on the past and seeking power from diversity. The entry is one of the few proposals for the grave memorial where the shape and form really differed from the other ones,” the committee observed.

The commendation (EUR 1,000) was awarded to Pertti Kukkonen’s and Pekka Ojalammi’s design Towards Peace.

The horizontal design sculptured from black granite depicts the peace-making process.

The results of the competition were decided by a judging committee consisting of nine members of Ahtisaari’s grave memorial committee appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office and two members appointed by the Artists’ Association of Finland.

The competition was anonymous. The entries to the competition were not allowed to show the artist’s name or contain any other markings that could reveal their identity.

The entries to the design competition will be kept on display at the National Archives of Finland from May 14 to May 28, 2024.

Ahtisaari’s grave memorial is to be unveiled on St. Martin’s Day (Martinpäivä), which in Finland is celebrated on 10 November, exactly one year after Ahtisaari’s funeral.

Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari (23 June 1937–16 October 2023) was the tenth President of Finland. He served as president from 1994 to 2000.

All former Presidents of the Republic have been honoured with a grave memorial. The design competition for President Ahtisaari’s grave memorial continues this tradition.