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Emma Ainala Tarantula 2019

Emma Ainala
Tarantula, 2019
Oil on canvas
170 x 150cm

Photo by Emma Ainala


Emma Ainala offers a view into a world in which young women play the main role.  The women perform as if on stage with an array of draped fabrics and an abundance of  goods, or surrounded by water and luscious nature. Their regard is focused on the viewer or just beyond, the faces might have more than two eyes, looking through a mask. Their bodies are twisted into many positions – one woman stands on her head, another stretches like an acrobat and a third sits in lotus position. Who are these woman, and in which mythology do they live? 

Time frames mix and overlap. The paintings show flashes of Disney, Furby and Care Bears characters, familiar to children of the 1990s. The social media world comes to mind through poses and cell phones, as well as the indifference towards others. Those interested in art history can find direct quotations and references in the images composition and depth of perception as well as in the material presentation of texture such as hair and fabric.

The candy colours of these carefully made paintings cleverly highlight the more subdued colours. Abundant delightful details such as teddybears, hamburgers, decorative leggings, hairpieces and flowers live peacefully together. The paintings open up like a kaleidoscope for people of any age or gender to observe and contemplate. 

Emma Ainala is one of Finland’s most promising young contemporary artists. The summer exhibition at the Jyväskylä Art Museum shows paintings made from between 2016 and 2019. The paintings Ainala made this year were made specifically for this exhibition. Older works are on loan from museums and private collections.

Emma Ainala (b. 1989) graduated from the Helsinki Art Academy in 2013, and the same year was recognised for her work in the Helsinki Art Hall’s Young Artist exhibition. In 2016, the ”Helsingin Sanomat” newspaper singled her out in their series ”the rising hope of culture” which presented gifted artists from different fields. In the article she talks about becoming interested in art as a 13 year old, when she first saw the film about Frida Kahlo, directed by Julie Taymor. ”I just thought that I would like to live like her. After seeing the film I started looking into Frida Kahlo’s work and deeper into art history.” (HS 21.7.2016)

Emma Ainala’s work has been shown in art museums around Finland and at the Helsinki Contemporary Gallery.  Ainala was born in Helsinki and grew up in Jyväskylä before moving to Savonlinna for an art education in high school. After graduating from the Helsinki Art Academy, she settled down to live and work in Savonlinna.