In August 2017, the grey district of Merihaka received a 80 meter long street art piece on the walls of its shared courtyard, made by Essi Ruuskanen and Jukka Hakanen.
Helsinki Urban Art was contacted by a resident from the district of Merihaka already in the December of the previous year, with the wish to get some street art on the grey concrete walls surrounding the yard of the houses. The grey yard was very underused, which the resident hoped a street art piece would change. Throughout the spring the residents got to voice their opinions at a few residents’ hearings about the themes, colours and elements they wanted to see in the mural. The requests were considered in the curating and artistic planning of the project. Finnish street artists Essi Ruuskanen and Jukka Hakanen were chosen to paint the piece.
Essi Ruuskanen is a street artist who has been painting in Helsinki, Vantaa, Mäntyharju and Kuopio. The last piece before the Merihaka mural she made at the station of Martinlaakso in Vantaa, and in addition to this she has painted murals for private houses in Vantaa and Helsinki. Essi Ruuskanen was also making the first ever big mural to Kuopio, alongside Street Art Vantaa, in the autumn of 2016.
Many people in Helsinki know Jukka Hakanen from his mural at Hämeenkatu 128, which when it was finished in 2015, made way for the next murals that began to pop up in Helsinki the next years. During his years in street art, Jukka Hakanen has painted in almost every bigger city in Finland, and internationally in cities such as Paris, Copenhagen and Tallinn. The work of a street artist keeps him busy all summer long – after the Merihaka mural he continued to Oulu, Lappeenranta and Joensuu.
The walls were divided among the two artists in the way that Jukka Hakanen painted the end wall opening towards the field, and Essi Ruuskanen painted the longer wall next to the garage. The street art piece, located in Haapaniemenkatu 16 can be viewed by anyone, and is accessible through the yard.