Pirkko Nukari developed an interest in nature during her childhood summers by the sea. Observation of the activities and behaviour of animals led to biology studies at the university, until Nukari made her final choice to become a visual artist. As an artist, she has been able to combine different approaches with her relationship with nature. She found her own subject in the 1970s in Hailuoto, which is known for its rich birdlife. “Nature is my muse with all her phenomena. Birds are a metaphor for my feeling of nature.”
Birds are challenging subjects for a sculptor. Instead of a colourful plume, the bird’s species must be expressed through a plastic form. Nukari’s obvious skills in this area are based on decades of keen observation and literary sources. Likeness does not make a work of art, however. In particular Nukari’s small birds exemplify her ability to immortalize the movement of birds in momentary timelessness and express different emotional states through them, while the larger bird motifs display more serious and metaphorical overtones, an ecological concern about the preservation of species. Many of the birds depicted by Nukari are disappearing from Finland.
The work Muistopöytä (Commemorative Table) has already been displayed at Kultaranta in Nukari’s private exhibition in 2013. The Foundation purchased the work, and since then, it has been on display in summer in the Kultaranta park in the pavilion in the Red Garden. Nukari has described her starting point for the work as follows: “My sculpture could also be called Death of a Sparrowhawk; a sparrowhawk bumped into the window of my study with fatal consequences. I wanted to make a memorial for it, a sculpture to pay respects for its life.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Pirkko Nukari (b. 1943 in Helsinki) studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts, Helsinki in 1961–66. Her works were on display for the first time in Helsinki in 1967. Nukari has made over ten public sculptures including Sotka laskeutuu (Pochard Landing), which was placed in the Ministry of the Environment in Helsinki in 1987, Yhteys (Contact), which was unveiled in the Laaksolahti Chapel in Espoo in 2003 and Kurki on laskeutunut, (Crane Has Landed) which was erected in the same year in the Ruskeasuo Park in Helsinki.
Pirkko Nukari was the Editor in chief of the Taide magazine in 1980–84. She received the Kultaranta Award of the Alfred Kordelin Foundation in 2013 and she was awarded the Pro Finlandia medal in 2017.
Studies and prizes
Pirkko Nukari, Commemorative Table, 2008, bronze, Alfred Kordelin Foundation. Photo: Vesa Aaltonen.
Artist photo: Johnny Korkman