If you are looking for something to do next weekend, you might want to visit the design district in Helsinki. Spanning across different neighborhoods like Kruunuhaka, Punavuori, Kaartinkaupunki, Ullanlinna and Kamppi, design and art are things that make the city stand out. There are more than 100 boutiques, galleries, museums and cafes to visit.  One of those art galleries is Galerie Anhava, located a block away from Vanha kirkkopuisto.

Galerie Anhava was founded in 1991 and focuses on contemporary Finnish and Nordic art. It is one of the few Finnish art galleries with an international presence and although it focuses on conceptual art, there is something for everyone interested in contemporary visual art. Exhibitions can include paintings, sculptures, photography and video installations. The owner and founder of the gallery, Ilona Anhava, shared for an interview for Finland Today her perception on contemporary art in Finland.

Contemporary art scene in Finland is very active.

According to Ilona, the contemporary art scene in Finland is very active, not only in Helsinki but also in other cities. There are many museums with international programs like the Sara Hilden Art Museum in Tampere and Pori Art Museum in Pori. She added that there are also important prizes for contemporary artists, particularly Ars Fennica, which is awarded annually by an important family of collectors, whose collection is donated to Hämeenlinna Art Museum. “There is a lively gallery scene in Helsinki and approximately five of the galleries are also active on an international level,” she said.


Ilona Anhava

Ilona Anhava

Founder and owner of Galerie Anhava

Ilona Anhava is the owner and founder of Galerie Anhava. She holds a Master of Law degree from the University of Helsinki (1978), and has also studied aesthetics, art history and literature.

Why visit the gallery

Ilona suggests visiting Galerie Anhava because one can discover interesting new artists that were previously unknown to them. Because all galleries in Finland have regular opening hours, they are easily available to the public. Ilona founded the gallery when the economic situation all over the world, but especially in Finland, was very challenging. She aimed to “provide a platform especially for emerging Finnish artists, and, on the other hand, the gallery also featured more established foreign artists who were not known in Finland.” Some of those emerging artists are now famous established names in Finland and also well known internationally. “The gallery established its position in the contemporary art scene very fast, but the economic challenges were there for quite a long time, actually until 1996,” said Ilona.

If you visit the gallery before March 31st you will find the Not And Or exhibition by Jacob Dahlgren. The Swedish artist focuses on the ideals of classic constructivism and presents his work made from everyday objects available to everyone. So, if you are wondering what to do until real springtime arrives, make sure to check this or other art galleries distributed across the city.

Pictures: Galerie Anhava


  • Paulina Bouzas was born and raised in Mexico and has an MA in Linguistics from the University of Eastern Finland. She enjoys writing about education, language and Finnish culture.