Vova and The Little Sister

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Väki is a Finnish word. Nowadays it means simply people or folk, because it's original mythical aspect has been lost in the course of time. However, it used to be said that people have väkeä meaning that they have entities or forces living within them. It referred to spirits of various kinds or different aspects that shaped people according to the väki they contained. Strong people had plenty of väki and accordingly they were forceful, väkeviä. Weak or infirm people had less väki, and they were said to be vähäväkisiä.


The project started when I felt it was time to look inside myself. What I found was a human-shaped being which I wanted to make and envelop in photographs from my childhood. That was the first entity that I got hold of. I let the idea evolve for over five years, until in 2011 it was time to start making my first figure. The result was not ”me as a girl”, but, instead, an older character. I set out from my forefathers and my relationship with I knew about them. Gradually, Vova started to take shape.




Vova's birth involved careful deliberation and planning.

I thought about him a lot and primed myself. Solutions emerged slowly, struggling to overcome difficulties until it was finished. At one point the project spawned a surprise child: The Little Sister. It was born so naturally that I could hardly fathom it. It was hard work, of course, but she kept explaining herself during the creation process and she was finished a few days before Vova.


With my two figures completed I knew there would be more of them. Leafing through old notebooks I noticed

I had jotted down in 2008 that altogether there are seven väkeä. The first two who were born in 2012 are on display for the first time in a Berlin Gallery in December 2012. The project has started. It will live and evolve. Maybe my väki will eventually amount to seven, maybe not.

Use the menu on the right to view some of my earlier works from the exhibitions Three Colours 2010 and the Singing Roses: Berlin 2006.

Kanteleen Vanhameijeri Oy