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Pirjo Honkasalo nominated Arts Academician

Ministry of Education and Culture
8.5.2020 11.24
Press release

By proposal of the Central Arts Council, the President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö has awarded film director and photographer Pirjo Honkasalo the title of academician. Honkasalo will receive the title at an award ceremony to be held at a later date.

There may be 11 art academicians at any one time. The President of the Republic grants the title of academician to highly distinguished Finnish artists on a proposal from the Arts Council.

The other arts academicians are: the Eija-Liisa Ahtila, artist; Carl-Johan (Caj) Bremer, photographer; Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi, textile and fashion artist; Outi Heiskanen, graphic artist; Kirsi Kunnas-Syrjä, author; Professor Marjo-Leena Kuusela-Kitti, dance artist; Juha Leiviskä, architect; Ralf Långbacka, theatre director; Hannu Mäkelä, author; and Jorma Panula, conductor.

Rationale of the Central Arts Council for nominating Honkasalo

Director and photographer Pirjo Honkasalo (born in 1947) is a well-known filmmaker and a world-renowned documentarist. Honkasalo's cinematographic narration and unique form of expression have produced exceptionally robust films for several decades. Honkasalo is a multiple winner of the Jussi Award and her films have been shown at many of the most renowned film festivals in the world. 

Pirjo Honkasalo's long career as a director of documentary and fiction films and as a filmmaker is exceptionally global in nature. Her films explore the most profound essence of human nature and the kind of general humanity that we all have in common. In her films, Honkasalo does not shy away from difficult topics, as can be seen in the film ‘The 3 Rooms of Melancholia’ (2004), which chronicles the world of the children of Chechnya and Russia in the midst of war.

In addition to her own artistic work, she has taught new generations of filmmakers and participated actively in public debate in society through her art. In the capacity of an academician, Pirjo Honkasalo's ability to address topical issues and defend human rights further enriches art life in Finland.


In February 2019, film director Aki Kaurismäki informed the President of the Republic that he would be relinquishing his title of academician. The title of the academician is therefore currently held by ten distinguished artists.

Inquiries: Riitta Kaivosoja, Director General, tel. +358 2953 30129

Edited 8 May 11.38 AM: Backround: In February 2019 (not December)