Suomi And Iran Elina Sorainen, Artistic Director The Cultural Center Alm

In 1998 I was able to return to research on the significant ceramic art that the women potters of Kalpourkan in Baluchistan are doing.

Suomi and Iran

Elina Sorainen,

artistic director

The Cultural Center Alm

In Finland we are familiar with many fine and important things of Iran. We admire the Persian carpets and have learned about human civilisation and advancement through the illustrious history and archaeological treasures discovered in ancient Iran.

During my seven years of life and work in Teheran in the 1970s I was able to discover that the ancient culture still lives in the towns and villages around Iran. As a ceramicist my active interest was directed both to the modern and the traditional crafts in that field. While teaching ceramics at the College of Decorative Arts (daneshgadeh-ye-honarha-ye-tazyini) in Teheran my students and I took several field-trips to the pottery villages in Gilan and Mazandaran, and met and had discussions with the master artisans in the workshops of the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organisation.

In 1998 I was able to return to Iran to do in-depth research on the significant ceramic art that the women potters of Kalpourkan in Baluchistan are doing.

As a result of that research, a small but significant detail of Iran’s ancient living tradition is in Finland in the form of village ceramics of today. The Museum of Cultures, a part of The National Museum of Finland, has in its permanent storage a complete collection of the traditional ceramics of that small, remote village, Kalpourkan. This includes not only the women’s pottery but also the ethnic clothes, carpets, and tools of that area. This Kalpourkan collection has been exhibited in several art and historical museums around Finland, also in Estonia. Lectures have been held on this village’s outstanding craft internationally (

Arts and crafts students have been excited and charmed by the skill and proficiency of the Kalpourkan potter women. They are unique in their field!

We invite the foreign community as well as everybody else in Finland to come and visit us in Loviisa. We have constantly changing exhibitions and weekly cultural events in our Cultural Centre Almintalo. Until 9 February we have glass sculptures by the renowned artist Brita Flander, Africa-themed paintings by our Loviisa artist Marja-Liisa Aalto-Annala who recently returned from exhibiting at the Florence biennale, and wood-sculptures and paintings by the young artist of the year, Jasmin Anoschkin. Please visit our homepage

Iran has a past and a present with an immense scope of fine art, sculpture, painting, calligraphy, graphics etc. Not to mention music and literature and films. We here in Loviisa and elsewhere in Finland would like to see a part of it right here! – Our dream in the Cultural Center Alm is to fill the building’s two storeys with pictures, sculptures, handicrafts, music, and poetry from Iran.

Elina Sorainen,
artistic director
The Cultural Center Alm.

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