Are you an urban art fellow wondering through Helsinki? In that case, there is a whole region you might be interested in. Let me introduce you to Pasila, a grey district that was turned into a colorful and picturesque area just a few years ago.
All the trains going to Helsinki from the rest of the country, pass through Pasila and many people usually transit here. With its new shopping center, it quickly became a busy district. But there is more in this area to see than people in a hurry, waiting for their trains and buying their tickets.
In 2016 a bunch of talented street artists took over the district and spread colorful murals all over the place. After two years of fabulous work, it became the heart of urban art in Helsinki.
Two things make this project interesting. First of all, the art displayed is of a special genre and made with various techniques. You can find art pieces with a political impact, with philosophical ideas, dedicated to a famous book character or inspired by a personal story. Also, besides a few locals, painters came from many countries, including Austria, Germany, Italy, Russia, Czech Republic, Canada, and a few more. The second thing is that most of the murals are hidden, so at first glance, Pasila still looks like a colorless place. Nevertheless, if you keep your eyes open and check corners, bridges, and railings, a new side to this area will open to you, a colorful and unique one.
Pasila is the next train station after Helsinki, situated 3,5km from the central railway station. Since it is not that far away from Helsinki, you could also walk there. That would take you about 45 minutes, and you will see some beautiful scenery on your way. If you end up walking, I would advise you to start from Helsinginkatu street, which is known for its lively electricity boxes, also colored by different artists. An excellent way to begin your street art experience.
While in Pasila, just take Asemapäällikönkatu street and don’t forget to look around while walking- especially checking the staircases (believe me, this is a good tip). Turning right to Rajavartijankatu, you can find an art piece by Breeze Yoko, from South Africa. You can notice it is usual for her to address social issues through her work. Right next to her art, you will see colorful figures of two female activists painted by Jose Di Gregorio. These two are so vibrant and alive that watching them will somehow bring music in your head.
You can notice the brilliant work of Edward von Lõngus under the bridges of Opastinsilta and Kellosilta. He is a famous street artist from Estonia. You could have seen his art in the Art Museum of Estonia and National Geographics publications. All the peculiar paintings are done under a project named ‘ (R)estart Reality.’ A cool thing about this one is that you can download an app, which brings all his drawn characters alive, allowing them to tell their story.
Walking and lurking behind the many corners of Pasila, you will find more great art pieces with their stories and ideas. Interesting to know is that Pasila has been colorful before, but due to a conservative street art policy, most of the art was removed. And now the Pasila Street Art project got support from museums, embassies of many countries and, of course, Helsinki City. Many people united together to make grey streets flourish with murals, and remind all of us that art belongs to the people.
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