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Hilda Hellström’s work wins Astra’s art competition for invited artists

Swedish visual artist Hilda Hellström’s entry Passage of Time was the unanimous winner of the high quality art competition for invited international artists for the artwork to be erected at the Åbo Akademi Foundation’s new Astra building.

Portgrait of the Swedish visual artist Hilda Hellström.
Hilda Hellström. Photographer: Frans Ahlbom

The Astra campus building, which the Foundation for Åbo Akademi University is having built, will enrich the historic quarter in the centre of old Turku with its architecture. Astra’s design combines contemporary art into an ambitious whole, a central part of which is the work Passage of Time, which will be erected in front of the building.

The entry won the international art competition for invited artists. Participants included sculptor Laura Könönen (FIN), visual artist Akseli Leinonen (FIN), sculptor Eetu Huhtala (FIN), visual artist Hilda Hellström (SWE) and visual artist Sara Nielsen Bonde (SWE/DE).

The work Passage of Time convinced the jury with its powerful treatment of time. The work is based on the idea of a slow, geological time. In its form, the work consists of large blocks that form a gateway motif placed in a group.

“The sculptures resemble layers of stone material cut out of a larger block, revealing the layers that the earth has slowly formed. The idea of the proposal is linked to the archaeological excavations carried out in the area, where the elements found are interpreted as part of the details of the work, in which the Turku fire is also visible. The traces of the fire run like a dark stripe through the city’s soil. It is inspiring to realise a work in a place with so many historical layers,” says Hilda Hellström.

The winner was chosen by a jury consisting of representatives of the Åbo Akademi University Foundation, Åbo Akademi University, the Student Union of Åbo Akademi University, the Turku Museum Centre, the Artists’ Association of Finland and Sigge Architects. In joint second place were Eero Huhtala’s entry Iterations and Akseli Leinonen’s Outside Infinity.

“We received five high-quality entries, but in the end it was very clear which entry was the winner and the decision was made by a unanimous jury. It is wonderful to be involved in the realisation of new contemporary art in an international collaboration”, says Ulrika Grägg, curator at the Åbo Akademi Foundation.

The work is placed in front of the staircase where visitors can sit.
Image of the winning work: Hilda Hellström.