[Home page]


Heikki Kastemaa's
Culture Navigator

Figure Painting Links


I was born in Vyborg on February 6, 1931. My parents came from Ladoga's Karelia. My father was a tailor, and later a taxi driver. We fled the Winter War of 1939-40 to Ostrobothnia, first to Liminka and then to Oulu. In Liminka I saw paintings by Vilho Lampi when I was ten years old. Paavo Rintala was my best companion to talk with when I was at school. Having finished lower secondary education, I went to study art in the school of the Finnish Academy of Art in Helsinki in 1949-51 and in André Lhote's studio in Paris in 1952-53. I assisted Lennart Segerstråle with the frescoes of Rovaniemi and Varkaus churches. In Oulu I took enthusiastically part in the local cultural life. We arranged art festivals within the framework of the Merikoski Club, and we tried to promote the introduction of a university, art museum and other cultural establishments in Oulu. I painted a few public works of art and a series of rural landscapes from Panuma in Pudasjärvi. I made lots of paintings from the old Kastelli where we were living but I also experimented with abstract painting. I taught plastic design at the Department of Architecture of the University of Oulu for more than ten years. I studied the colour theory. In the 1960's, I intruded upon the Pohjoinen. I made up the pages of the cultural journal Pohjoinen, with Erno Paasilinna as editor-in-chief, for about three years. I started to produce television documentaries for the Finnish Broadcasting Company. I made programmes mainly about art and artists for more than twenty-five years. I wrote books about Vilho Lampi and Reidar Särestöniemi. In the 1980's, I also wrote "The Small Philosophies" columns for the newspaper Kaleva. In 1993, I started painting again, doing basic painting. Here I am, I can do no other.

My family is my wife Airi who has done a long life's work as a primary teacher in the Oulu Swedish School. My children are Maaria, Markus and Simo, and I have eleven grandchildren.

Kempele 31. 3. 1998
Eeli Aalto