Thursday, March 14, 2013
While moving my pottery shelves from the lanai to the garage I re-discovered this plate made by Andreas Alariesto, 1900-1989. The plate was purchased by Gary's father when he returned to his homeland of Finland for a visit in 1983. Alariesto was born in Finland and worked as a lumberman, fisherman, and even a janitor. He was a self taught artist who did not have any formal art education. His main motivation for his paintings, story tellings, and songs was keeping alive the cultural traditions of Sompio, Lapland.
Alariesto, a primitivist painter, became famous in the 1970s and his first exhibition was in 1976 even though he had been painting since his adolescence. The plate, approximately 4 3/4 inches in diameter, depicts a typical natural scene where reindeer graze and frolic at Lake Inari. Lots of large birds are perched in the trees. One reindeer is even taking a nap on a boulder a short distance from the shore. This scene was reproduced on this plate made by Arabia Pottery in 1983 and can be hung on the wall. Alariesto's signature is reprinted on the reverse as well.
reindeer have and continue to be an important food for the people of Finland. Reindeer have been hunted since the Stone Age and were domesticated between the Bronze and Silver Age. Reindeer are hunted and raised for their meat, antlers, and skins. Every organ of the reindeer is edible and even the blood is used in some traditional dishes. Reindeer meat is tender and lean and can be prepared fresh, dried, or smoked. Reindeer sausage is sold in grocery stores in Finland and reindeer meatballs are sold canned. Reindeer antlers are ground and sold as an aphrodisiac, and nutritional and medicinal supplement to Asian markets.
life and work of Alariesto click this link to be taken to an article printed in the Christian Science Monitor in 1987. Well worth the read the article captures the essence of how an artist feels about their work, their passion and drive to keep working, to keep creating even in the face of criticism or adversities in their life. To see more of Alariesto's paintings and hear music he sang to go with each painting please click this link. All this time I've had this plate and I never knew the story of this fascinating artist till now, thanks for the motivation and inspiration Andreas. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.