PM Sanna Marin (left) during the unveiling of her portrait in the City of Tampere, together with the artist Meeri Koutaniemi (black hat), Source: Tampere Municipality

Tampere celebrates Sanna Marin’s mayoral term with an artsy portrait

Tampere celebrates Sanna Marin’s mayoral term with an artsy portrait

Commemorating chairmen of the local city council with paintings is an honoured tradition, but the millennial PM offered a twist

At the start of this week, the City of Tampere unveiled a new artful portrait as a way to commemorate Sanna Marin, the current Finnish prime minister. The reason, however, was the fact that the PM had previously served as the chairman of the local city council (the equivalent of a mayoral position) in the period 2013-2017 before she shot up to national politics.

The city has a long tradition of immortalizing its ex-council chairpersons by adding their painted portraits to the corridors in City Hall. What’s interesting in this case, however, was that Sanna Marin opted to have a photographic portrait rather than a painted one, keeping up with the spirit of innovation and pushing for new boundaries that she’s come to be known for.

She even personally chose the artist to create the portrait. It was renowned photographer Meeri Koutaniemi. Ms Koutaniemi explained that the colours of the coat of arms of the city of Tampere, red and gold, served as the inspiration for Sanna Marin’s portrait.

A touch of symbolism

The coat of arms designed by Olof Eriksson in the 1960s has a wave symbolizing Tammerkoske. This current also runs in the background of the portrait depicting Marin's presidency of the council. The strong red acts as a faint reference to Tampere's history as a traditional working-class city. The portrait symbolizes the presidency's strong leadership, purposefulness and openness in the groundbreaking change of the new generation of politics,” added the photographer.

For her part, PM Sanna Marin, who was also present at the unveiling, also offered her take on the symbolism implied in the portrait, which aimed to be more than a stiff formal photo.

She said: “When I was acting as chairman of the Tampere council, together we made numerous bold and progressive decisions that build the city's future. I hoped that the renewal of the city would also be conveyed in the portrait, and instead of painting, the portrait would be realized with the means of photographic art”.



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