Jori Tapio Kalliola, Peering in from the Underworld - Reaching the Sky, 2021

Exhibition at Sepän talo, Alfredinkatu 3, Rauma, 30.5.–20.6.2021. Open Mon-Fri 12–17.30 and Sat–Sun 12–15.

Public presentation about ITE-art from Satakunta - delicious findings and observations, at 16.6.2021, 17.30-19.00 o´clock. Presentation by Jori Tapio Kalliola and Veli Granö.

The Association for Rural Education and Culture has chosen Jori Tapio Kalliola (b. 1968) as ITE Artist of the Year 2021. The goal of naming the ITE Artist of the Year is to highlight the own voice and perspectives of self-taught but artistically significant artists better.
He is a self-taught artist and musician. Jori Tapio Kalliola has been painting since his youth but became interested in ice hockey and music as well. He has spent several years touring as a musician. Jori is known as the lead singer of the band Jori Otsa & Mah’Orkka.

Kalliola has never studied in any official art institutions. As a musician, singer and songwriter he is also self-taught. Kalliola worked in Helsinki as an environmental caretaker to 2014 when he moved to Hanko with his family. There he began to sculpt. He became so enthralled by it so that nowadays a new one is created almost daily. His workshop is full of wooden sculptures and reliefs.

In his art, Jori Tapio Kalliola is commenting contemporary life and world events. The targets are the power structures of society, politics, religion and the economy, greed and the pursuit of power. Already in his childhood, the artist says he experienced deep frustration in situations he felt unfair. Now the wooden heads of the sculptures are revealing and protesting against those injustices. "There are no strict commands on how to do art", says Kalliola. He draws his inspiration from being an outsider, injustice in the world and the tragicomic events of life. Powerful feelings such as love and hate are all visible in his works and lately Kalliola´s motivation for creating art has been driven on by being infuriated.

For his fierce looking sculptures Kalliola uses materials that others have abandoned. They consist of timber, dismantled railway parts and metal junk. There was a time not too long ago when Kalliola considered to burn all his works of art in a great pyre. His idea was to declare that the art is not for sale but for higher purposes. One motive may have also been a slight frustration of being invisible to the world as an outsider artist.

In connection with the exhibition, a book edited by Veli Granö and Elina Vuorimies has been published. ITE art in Satakunta contains, in addition to presentations by ITE artists, more extensive articles on Satakunta's folk creativity and mental landscape and the current state of ITE art. Satakunta's identity is built on the open valley of the Kokemäenjoki River, swamps and rugged coasts. The area’s ambiguous dry humor may not open up easily to someone from elsewhere, but ITE art from Satakunta paints a picture of a fun and self-respecting culture of communal doing. The multiplicity of women and young people also speak of open-mindedness.