Alpo Koivumäki

Kauhajoki (1939–2023)

Exotic animals

Kauhajoki-based Alpo Koivumäki became known as an ITE artist who turned scrap metal into exotic animals. Koivumäki lived and farmed in his childhood home on a small farm in Nummijärvi, Kauhajoki. Koivumäki was already a talented draftsman and painter as a child. He didn’t have time to become an artist until he was older, when Finland joined the European Union in the 1990s and farming had to be stopped.

Alpo Koivumäki was handy, industrious, and blessed with a rich imagination, and he was indeed a prolific artist for the rest of his life. Today there are 150 animal figures made from scrap metal in his sculpture park.

Expressive animal figures created from recycled material

Alpo Koivumäki’s art was made from a wide variety of scrap objects, plastic waste, metal, car tyres, leftover wood and whatever Alpo’s numerous visitors brought with them. The artist used recycled materials in a stunningly inventive way. Especially amazing in Alpo Koivumäki’s art is the expressiveness and authenticity of the animal figures.

Alpo Koivumäki found his inspiration in the species that are not typical of Finland’s nature. Although Alpo’s Savanna has Finnish animals as well, such as bears, cows and a Finnhorse, the main focus is on more exotic fauna. For the artist, depicting the new and the unknown was something that raised him above everyday life. The artist got to know the animals of faraway countries by studying illustrations in magazines and books and watching nature programs, and the rest was his own imagination and interpretation. The traditional Finnish rural landscape changed to a savanna when Alpo Koivumäki’s art took over the yard.

Alpo Koivumäki was a prolific artist

There was always something going on at Alpo Koivumäki’s workshop, and several projects were underway at the same time. It could take several weeks to create large animal figures, and simultaneously, the artist made some smaller works in a couple of days.

Koivumäki’s ITE art was discovered in 1998 as part of a project surveying contemporary folk art in Finland. At that time, Koivumäki became known locally, and his works were exhibited in various projects related to ITE art in Finland. Later on Koivumäki’s art has also been exhibited around Europe, such as Germany, France, Hungary, Switzerland and Sweden.

Alpo’s Savanna

You can take a closer look at Alpo Koivumäki’s ITE art in the sculpture park Alpo’s Savanna, located in the village of Nummijärvi in Kauhajoki. Alpo’s Savanna is ITE-art park, where tropical animals and plants have been brought to the north.The art project spreads over the farmyard, right there where the artist lived his everyday life. The outdoor exhibition is open during the summer months.

The works of the exhibition

ITE-taiteilija Alpo Koivumäen teos, Norsulinnut

Elephant bird

The largest bird in the world was, as its name suggests, huge. The elephant bird weighed 800 kilograms and was three meters tall. The last observations of them were made in the 17th century, after which they were assumed to have died out.

However, elephant bird couple has lived a peaceful life in the Savannah of ITE artist Alpo Koivumäki. Next summer, you can come across these Elephant Birds like migratory birds in the Middle of Nowhere art park. Alpo Koivumäki’s work “Elephant bird” imitates an elephant bird that lived a long time ago in terms of its size and vision.

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