Turquise Flow -series of works
Visual artist Terhi Ekebom
The series of works “Turkoosi virtaus” (turquoise flow) by Terhi Ekebom, on exhibit in the H Building of the Vaasa Central Hospital comprises eight sea-themed paintings. The series depicts water as a gentle and supportive element, a turquoise refuge of constant movement. The direction of the flow aligns with the direction the users of the hospital move through the space.
Terhi Ekebom user her works to explore perceptions, stories and experiences
I am a visual artist and illustrator from Helsinki and also make comics and murals.
I am interested in storytelling and visuality. I want to explore and convey perceptions, stories and experiences. I like to create works both in a small and intimate form factor, such as book illustrations as well as larger-scale contexts like water towers and the facades of buildings.
Photo: Sami Pulkkinen
Making the series of works Turquise Flow
The works comprising “Turquise Flow” were painted directly onto the walls of the 7th and 8th floors. The works take user safety into consideration on many levels. The works cannot be physically removed from the wall. Their content is also very gentle and supportive of well-being.
I was requested to create a series of works that is calm, promotes a good atmosphere and focuses visually on a sea theme. I adopted movement and flow as my starting point for exploring the theme. The work has a lot of gentle and buoyant water that carries with it a variety of different lifeforms in the same direction as users move through the spaces. I wanted to bring plenty of natural shapes to the hospital environment. The imagery is sea-themed throughout, with the exception of the play room, which features birds sitting in their home tree and flying above the clouds. Flow is a recurring theme in the works, which connects with the direction of movement in the space as well as overall growth, change and the cycle of life. Other recurrent elements include water lilies, other aquatic plants, sail boats, birds and fish.
I started the work drafting. As background research I considered which colours and themes would promote well-being and have a calming effect. I took into consideration the experiences and knowledge expressed by the art working group, combining different elements. I started making drafts in the autumn of 2021 and presented them in the spring of 2022. Painting work at the hospital was carried out in May–July 2022.
I was surprised by the slow pace of the work, even though I have created many similar works. It took some time to get a handle on the large surfaces and spaces. I think it is also important to experience the space that will host the work and let it influence the work while it is already being created, despite having made drafts. The works were created before any other elements, such as furniture, were placed in the spaces. How everything will look when everything is in place will be a surprise even for myself.
Creating the works for the hospital felt significant as this is a place where people have experiences that may impact their lives even quite dramatically. I hope that the works can provide consolation for the users of the hospital and imbue the space with some gentleness and joy. Time spent at a hospital can be full of worry and loneliness. Family members and personnel also need some rest. I hope that the works convey to the viewers that they were made with a lot of heart.