Portrait of the President of the Republic is unveiled

Government Communications Department 4.5.2018 11.20
Press release 232/2018

The portrait of President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö was unveiled at the Presidential Room of the Government Palace on Friday, 4 May. The portrait is a mosaic composed of one hundred partial works by one hundred younger-generation artists — graphic artists, sculptors, painters, video artists, performance artists and photographers — who are or have been active in Finland. President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Government ministers as well as artists who contributed to the portrait and other invited guests participated in the unveiling of the portrait.

The portrait was ordered by the Government and will be located in the Presidential Room of the Government Palace. The walls of the Presidential Room and its waiting room have portraits of the previous presidents as well. The mode of implementation and producers of the portrait were chosen by President Niinistö. Implemented as community artwork, the portrait was produced by artists Atro Linnavirta and Anita Naukkarinen. 

The idea for this mode of implementing the portrait dates back to 2012 when, as the newly elected President of the Republic, Sauli Niinistö was given a community art portrait as a visual congratulatory greeting. At that time the artwork, directed by a working group of students from the Lahti Institute of Art, took a stand in support of art schools under threat of closure. 

Inspired by the artwork of 2012, and in the spirit of the Together theme of Finland’s centenary year celebrations, the President invited one hundred artists to contribute to his portrait. First he was photographed for the portrait. The photograph was then divided into one hundred parts that were distributed to the invited artists by drawing lots. These served as the starting point for the artists. The artists were given artistic freedom to interpret their own part of the artwork, and they worked independently without knowledge of each other. The completed parts were assembled to form the artwork. The mosaic presents the spectrum of modern art — the artists represent a vast range within the field of art. 

The public will have the opportunity to view President Niinistö’s portrait when it is on display at the Ateneum Art Museum in June 2018. The portraits of Niinistö and previous Presidents are presented on the Government’s website at valtioneuvosto.fi/presidenttien-muotokuvat.

More about the portrait and its creators
Photos of the portrait

A recording of the unveiling is published on the Government’s website vn.fi/live and photos at www.flickr.com/photos/FinnishGovernment.

Inquiries: Timo Lankinen, Permanent State Under-Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, tel. +358 295 160 300