Inkinen, Seppo

Tampere (1934–2020)

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Seppo Inkinen has depicted some of the legendary characters of the Pispala of his youth. Before retiring, Inkinen worked as a painter, and he has created not only art but also musical instruments. His best-known works, however, are his Pispala legends – vivid sculptures welded from aluminium.

The pageant of works includes director of the local waterworks, Vihtori Mäkelä on a motorcycle with his wife, Hilma, in the sidecar, as well Roope Pajunen, who ran a bicycle repair shop in their backyard building. The richest and most famous man in Pispala, Matti Pispa, has also been immortalised in aluminium. He was a bachelor who owned half of Pispala – and some more. According to Inkinen, Pispa was a stingy man, who always wore a suit while he rode his old rattletrap of a moped around, even though by modern standards he was a millionaire. Another subject was Irja Lastunen, a real lady and the ”queen” of Pispala. She was always perfectly made up and dressed up – a true sight as she gracefully walked along the streets of Pispala in her jodhpurs, cravat round her neck and hair in a huge bun.

In addition to the statues of local celebrities, the subjects include anonymous characters from days gone by, such as an errand boy on his first day on the job, and a biker with his girlfriend. One of the funniest works depicts two elderly Salvation Army ladies, who used to march in Pispala, one singing hymns and the other banging the drum to save souls.

Text and images: Minna Haveri (7), images: Aki Paavola (1-6,8)