Fall Illumination at Hippolyte

Just as I was getting ill, I wrote a long, depressing and whiny post that– to everyone’s benefit– I did not share. Now that I am recovering and starting to feeling human again, I am suddenly noticing all that is enjoyable in life. Just yesterday I went for an evening walk along the water and as I turned back towards the city the beautiful lights and calm streets were a balm to my soul. The darkness creates a new cityscape, where windows and candles glow. After those long busy days, the empty streets and long sunsets seem like a fine treat, and dark nights invite restorative sleep and dreaming…

This is also the season when the artistic life of Helsinki takes off. People have mostly returned from the forest and concerts and exhibitions are back in full swing. This means that there are a lot of beautiful things tucked away inside. Before I completely succumbed to the virus that had recently run through Helsinki, I was lucky to have an evening with two extraordinarily lovely ladies out on the town. Among other places, we ended up at Kukka Paavilainen’s art opening at Gallery Hippolyte in a courtyard off of Yrjönkatu.

There are many wondrous things in courtyards off of Yrjönkatu, and this was yet another delight. The space was new to me, and I was completely enchanted. The gallery is in a former cinema, with the grandeur and ornate details of that era remaining. The ceilings were high and provided a perfect space for Kukka’s large canvases. The show was gorgeous, and so was artist. Definitely worth a visit and an incentive to explore the heart of Helsinki’s Gallery district. It is on until the 26th of October.

Also on only through the end of this week: the world premier of Frida y Diego an opera by Kalevi Aho with a libretto in Spanish by Maritza Núñez. It focuses on the life of the legendary artist Frida Kahlo and the production is being put on by the Sibelius Academy. The last performance will be on the 24th. This sounds so exciting. I just brought a visiting artist back to Valkokangas, Kukka Paavilainen‘s exhibit at Hippolyte and very much enjoyed my second visit. I just really enjoy being with her work in that space.

Hippolyta was also a brave woman, a queen of the Amazons who according to legend married and of course whose life ended in tragedy. She also appears in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, and that is what the name recalls most quickly to me. When I was 12 I played Hippolyta in a school production. I was thrilled to be chosen but then to self-conscious to play it well, thus missing my first big break in show business. That aside, there is a definite theme of talented women and art here that could lead to a spectacular evening this weekend…

The days are darker but they are full of treasures!