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Thread: Silent People in Suomussalmi

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    Question Silent People in Suomussalmi

    What do you know about the Silent People in Suomussalmi?

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    Default Re: Silent People in Suomussalmi

    I didn't know anything, but now....

    Reijo Kela unveiled his peat-headed beings for the first time in his 1988 presentation 'Ilmari's Ploughed Field' in Lassila's Field. They reappeared later in Helsinki's Senaatintori Market Place as part of the 1994 Kainuu Exhibition. 1200 Silent People had made the journey down to Helsinki but there was room for only 700 of them on the steps in front of the Cathedral. The presentation was erected during the night and over the proceeding two days created quite a stir in the Capital. The following night the Silent People were dismantled and sent back home to Suomussalmi.
    The Silent People stood for the third time in characteristically implacable taciturnity on the shores of Jalonuoma in Ämmänsaari. The occasion was the daring 1994 presentation by Reijo Kela, Heikki Laitinen and various others of 'The Bold and Beautiful, Wretches of the Shore'.

    The Silent People moved to their present home in the autumn of 1994. The peat-heads have their clothing attended to twice a year; their heads come straight from the field, their clothes from organised collections. The Silent People are made and clothed by the Suomussalmi Youth Workshop, which also takes care of their maintenance.

    People often ask what precisely is the idea behind the Silent People. A state of psychological withdrawal? The mute Kainuu soul? A forgotten people? Reijo Kela refuses to provide any answer. Viewers are free to come to their own conclusions. It may, however, be of interest to learn that if the Silent People were to be completely undressed there would remain some one thousand wooden crosses standing in the field.

    Reijo Kela

    Reijo Kela is a freelance dancer and choreographer born in Suomussalmi. His other significant works among others are Ilmari's Ploughed Field (1988), City man (1989) and Sacrificial Flame (1998).

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