Art by Kati Immonen and Laura Pehkonen brightens up Matinkylä’s underpass tunnels

25.10.2022 12.40
Näkymä alikulkutunneliin, jonka seinää koristaa värikäs, abstrakti taideteos.
Laura Pehkonen, Domino.Photo: Paula Virta / EMMA

New works of public art by Kati Immonen and Laura Pehkonen decorate the walls of two underpass tunnels in the Espoo district of Matinkylä. The EMMA-curated public works are part of a project designed to bring art into the everyday lives of Espoo residents. The Matinkylä Art Tunnels project was initiated by the Matinkylä Society (Matinkylä-seura) to cheer up the neighbourhood’s dark underpass tunnels and to enhance the public’s feeling of safety with the help of art.

EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art is curating a series of public artworks for Matinkylä’s underpass tunnels featuring artists who work across various media. The project was launched by the City of Espoo Cultural Unit and involves collaboration with EMMA, the Espoo Urban Environment Sector and the Matinkylä Society. The idea was originally proposed by the Matinkylä Society (Matinkylä-seura), with EMMA coordinating the execution. 

In its proposal, the Matinkylä Society compiled a list of existing underpasses in the neighbourhood, prioritizing tunnels that should be addressed first. The first artists featured as part of the project are Kati Immonen in Viljonpolku underpass and Laura Pehkonen in Nuottaniemi tunnel. The project will continue over the next few years, and residents will be invited to participate in the design process through various channels. 

“The Matinkylä Society’s proposal is an excellent example of its active work on behalf of local residents and also of the importance of public art in making urban space feel more inviting. For EMMA, the project is a special opportunity both to support an art-related citizen initiative and to introduce new kinds of public artworks into Espoo’s urban space,” enthuses EMMA’s Chief Curator Henna Paunu

Kati Immonen, Monument.Photo: Paula Virta / EMMA

The art featured in the tunnel project will include both concept-specific works that can be reproduced across multiple locations as well as works already found in existing collections. For instance Domino in Nuottaniemi tunnel by Laura Pehkonen is from EMMA’s existing collection. It consists of a composition of ceramic fragments that has been previously displayed in Espoo’s Keran Hallit sports complex. Monument by Kati Immonen in Viljonpolku tunnel is in turn based on a series of watercolour paintings acquired for the EMMA collection in 2021. 

In spring 2023, a new public mural will be be created as a team effort with local youngsters for the Länsiväylä underpass tunnel between Kuitinmäki and Tynnyripuisto. The featured artist will be Yamahamay (Yasmin May Jaafar), who is known for her street art and her work with participatory projects involving young people. Yamahamay will design the piece in collaboration with a group of 9th graders from Tiistilä School. 

Matinkylä’s new art tunnels round out the district’s public art offering with a fresh selection of new media. Matinkylä already boasts public sculptures by artists such as Laila Pullinen and Ernst Mether-Borgstöm, as well as many murals both on building façades and in underpass tunnels. This new collaboration between EMMA, the Matinkylä Society and the City of Espoo’s Urban Environment Sector and Cultural Unit marks a fresh, different approach to bringing public art to the streets. The design of the next art tunnel to be completed in 2024 will begin early in the new year.

The art tunnels project is an offshoot of Matinkylä: From Suburb to Metro Centre, a project aiming to enhance the district’s appeal and the wellbeing of local residents. The project is part of the Ministry of the Environment’s nationwide Suburban Programme 2020–2022, which aims to encourage resident participation, improve community spirit and sustainably enhance the appeal of suburban environments. The programme is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment with the involvement of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice, and the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA).


Tiina Kasvi

Cultural Manager+358 50 3019426

Partnerships and Promoting culture