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Kanttila's Summer Courtyard

Environmental community artwork, Minna Canth's home house Kanttila, Kuopio 2019

In honor of Minna Canth's 175-year jubilee the team Korpela-Kivimäki-Vuorikari organised in Kuopio an environmental community artwork Kanttila's Summer Courtyard. It was made of useful and ornamental plants, photos of people who have worked in the house, and literature. Townsfolk were invited to bring their own flowery and herbal greetings to the courtyard in honour of Minna Canth. Four godmother and godfather authors were also invited with their gift flowers: Sirpa Kähkönen, Jouni Tossavainen, Minna Maijala and Tuula Uusi-Hallila, whose gift was a glowing red geranium.

 The science author, mother tongue lecturer Uusi-Hallila wrote in 2002 with Kirsti Mäkinen the book Minna Canth: Taiteilija ja taistelija (Minna Canth: Artist and Fighter, in Finnish) for Finnish schools.

The environmental artwork was a continuation to the MORE BEANS! garden, from which the book Kristiina Korpela & Anna-Maria Heikkinen: Muistikuvia Minna Canthin pihalta ja puutarhasta (Images from Minna Canth's Yard and Garden, in Finnish) was published (Minerva Kustannus Oy 2007).


For the jubilee summer Minna Martat constructed plant cases in the yard, for perennial herbs and flowers. One case was planted with a rhubarb requested by Minna's offspring, a decorative pumpkin and the recipe of Minna's coffee cake.


The Martat also conjured a rose garden in the yard as voluntary work, including for instance Tove Jansson's rose. The garden was surrounded by stones and bricks from the yard.


The artist Katri Suonio with her helpers raised a somewhat worried Red-Dressed Minna on the end wall of the house.

 The author and researcher Minna Maijala donated a fuchsia to the courtyard. She thinks the flower describes Minna's nature, which was magnificent, passionate and melancholy. Minna Maijala's biography Herkkä, hellä, hehkuvainen Minna Canth (Tender, Loving, Glowing Minna Canth, in Finnish) appeared in 2014.


In the windows Jouko Kivimäki compiled a set of edited photos of former staffers of the house, including ones who worked in the Arts Council: Anna-Maria Heikkinen, Arja Laitinen and Meri Tegelman.


In August the puppet theater artist Juha Laukkanen offered children his show Let's Celebrate Minna! in the courtyard's playhouse. The performance carried away the children, as well as the adults standing outside in the rain. Juha also donated an apple tree sapling to the courtyard, to replace one that had perished. Below the apple tree in early autumn together with feathers brought by an unknown benefactor.


In a late summer folk festival the director-author Juha Hurme preached a powerful sermon on the international significance of Minna Canth, not yet quite realized by people in Kuopio. Mikko Siirola's guitar music and coffee with cake was also relished in the party.


The godmother and godfather authors participated in the Summer Courtyard by designing their own gifts of plants to Minna. Sirpa Kähkönen's herb basket (below) flourished with fragrant  lavender, rosemary, parsley and marigold flowers. Jouni Tossavainen donated a spruce that took a stand on current situations by drying up. Jouni wrote his first novel Koirastähti (He-Star, in Finnish) in Kanttila in the 1990s, along with spruce poems.

Outi Vuorikari in collaboration with the authors drafted the texts accompanying the gift plants.



By the end of September a happening was organised under the heading Recycling Kanttila's Plants: the summer courtyard was dismantled and distributed to townsfolk as gifts, as a part of the 10 years jubilee programme 10 Good Deeds of the Centre for Creative Arts Mylly. The visitors were given flowers, herbs, seeds, pumpkins and recipes. Minna Canth's House association's Executive Director Anja Lappi's trainee Miriam Grafen filmed events on the courtyard, video in YouTube.



When autumn arrived, perennial herbs were gathered into one case and covered to wait for a new spring. Juha Laukkanen's apple tree was also protected from hungry bunnies.



Below Kanttila's courtyard in its winter outfit, in the windows photos of former staffers of the house. Front left the apple tree, in the middle a lilac..


Minna Canth Festival in Kuopio in 19-22 March 2020 was cancelled due to the corona virus emergency. In spring Minna ended up being surrounded by cars and puddles. Hopefully the renovation of the building will proceed favourably and the plants of the yard may rise to new prosperity. There are plans to open up Minna's Salon after the corona epidemy. There are also plans to publish an illustrated booklet on the summer 2019 events at Kanttila on the basis of Outi Vuorikari's texts.