COMMENCING 29 April, Taidehalli is hosting a couple of notable Finnish artists at opposite ends of their careers.

Age of Elegance – Claire Aho is a much-anticipated collection from “The Grand Old Lady of Finnish Photography”, with the display consisting of Claire Aho’s fashion, advertisements and covers from the ’50s and ’60s.

With a career that began back in the 1940s, Aho is a respected pioneer of Finnish colour photography and is known for her work in magazines, advertisements and book covers, as well as for her colourful portraits.

The second Helsinki African Film Festival is upon us.

MID-May sees the second African Film Festival take place in Helsinki, with films from the continent screened at Andorra and Kiasma. The festival took off for the first time last year and did so with a bang: most of the films screened to sold out theatres as people swarmed to catch a glimpse of real Africa.

“The aim of the festival is to give people a hint of the diversity of the continent,” festival director Wanjiku wa Ngugi says. “Africa is still a myth, it’s seen through one lens, and the news create only a negative image of the continent. I wanted to create the festival in order to offer people a different point of view.”

GETTING a book published is a very difficult task, let alone when it’s one you’ve written in your second language. However, that’s exactly what Hannu Rajaniemi has done with his much acclaimed debut novel The Quantum Thief.

According to Rajaniemi’s website, he likes elephants and his favourite word is lumi. He’s also spent the last decade living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Well, I’m from Scotland, my daughter’s middle name is Lumi and I can pull off a mean elephant trumpet, all of which made me even more curious to meet the man while he was in Finland promoting the Finnish-language translation of his book.

SPRING is officially here at last and on top of sunshine it’s also offering us a taste of the summer to come with two music festivals about to kick off in the capital.

The first of the pair is the 17th annual Funky Elephant festival, which brings together a bunch of interesting local and international acts – all in the name of funk. This year the festival takes off in new style on Wednesday 30 March with an opening film Superfly, a blaxploitation flick straight from the 70s, screened at Andorra and followed by a club night of live music across the hall at Dubrovnik.


FILM buffs should make a note of this year's Tampere Film Festival, which presents an opportunity to see intriguing films that are otherwise practically impossible to catch. The festival was first organised in 1969 and concentrated originally on short films in particular, but it has since expanded to feature all sorts of films except for Hollywood blockbusters.