Cultural Counselor, Embassy of Finland speaks at Museum opening

Cultural Counselor, Embassy of Finland speaks at Museum opening

Around the Museum

On Friday, October 3, Dark Days, Bright Nights: Contemporary Paintings from Finland opened to the public and at once welcomed the beauty and culture of Finland into the heart of Kansas City. Following the reception and panel discussion which featured four of the exhibiting artists from Finland, Curator and Executive Director Barbara O'Brien welcomed a select group of patrons and members of the community to a private gathering held within the Museum's own Café Sebastienne. It was at this gathering that an esteemed guest addressed the group. His words, rich in vision and a microcosm of the importance of this exhibition's mission, are shared below:


Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends

It is a great pleasure to be here tonight and I want to give my warmest thanks to Barbara O'Brien for organizing this exhibition. It is wonderful to have Finnish art presented here in Kansas City.

Finland is a relatively small, but also a very modern country. We have only three natural resources: lakes, forests and creative people. Therefore, very early we realized that the strength of our nation lies in art and education.

The world around us has changed, and art has always played significant role in our culture trough out the years. We have many high-grade galleries and art museums in Finland and painting is also very popular hobby among the people. Visual Art is also an integral part of our school education from pre-school to secondary school. All of this tells that the value of art is well understood in Finland.

Dear friends, "Dark Days, Bright Nights" exhibition is a perfect showcase for Finnish contemporary art. I am also extremely impressed by the extensive list of exhibition related events you are going to have at Kemper Museum.

At the Finnish Embassy we find the interaction and dialog between our countries very important. The Embassy does not only want to advance the cultural export, but to also increase the interaction in the cultural field. It is a two-way street. This exhibition is a perfect example of wonderful cooperation between Finland and the U.S. I hope this exhibition is a start for the fruitful cooperation and that we can see more and more American art from Kansas City and other parts of the United States on display in Finland.

Lastly, I'd like to raise two points. I know usually it is three points but because of the recent budget cuts I can only say two.

First, all the Americans here with us tonight: I warmly welcome you to visit Finland! I can assure that our country offers something for everybody.  Like this exhibition "Dark Days, Bright nights" shows, Finland is a country of varieties and a mix of convivial country side, vibrant city life and everything in between.

Secondly, once more I'd like to thank Barbara O'Brien for creating this excellent exhibition with an excellent program. Barbara, it is fair to say that you are an ambassador of Finnish culture!

Dear friends, let us enjoy the pleasant evening together.

Thank you!


Mr. Keijo Karjalainen
Cultural Counselor
Embassy of Finland, Washington, D.C.


Visit Dark Days, Bright Nights exhibition page to learn more.

Artwork above: Nanna Susi, Mökki (Cottage), 2014, oil on canvas, 63 x 70 7/8 inches. Courtesy of the artist, Helsinki © Nanna Susi