Aino-Maija Metsola


25.8.2021 — 12.9.2021


There is a group of islets in the southwest. Could I swim there? I guess not.
Or perhaps?
In the early hours rain starts to pour. I’m waiting.
At seven o’clock I start packing. A beach towell. And something to eat.
It’s calm and humid.
My swimsuit feels a bit uncomfortable.
Red, blue and yellow plastic strings. There is a lot of them.
The footprints of a swan lead to the sea. I follow her.
Sand and then mud, I lift my feet up to be carried by the water.
There is foam and some tiny sluggish fish. I dive in.

I meet thirteen eiders. They swim past me but keep their distance.
The scent of a massive ship disappears with the wind. I’m floundering in the waves.
I’m an average swimmer, at most. But nevertheless I’m already approaching the shore.
Brown kelp clings around my ankle. Then I drift to the rocks.
I slip and hurt my big toe. It’s bleeding.
The cliff is slowly warming up. A lone cormorant flies low.
I walk around the islet three times, clockwise.
Bay barnacles, lichen. Bird bones. I can hear the distant noise of the city.
I apply some sunscreen. The clouds are light and sheer. I might take a nap.
When I wake up I have goosebumps on my legs. Someone throws ash in the air.
I brought a cinnamon bun. It’s too big and I eat it too hastily.
My vacuum bottle escapes from me, rattling. It sinks.


Visual artist Aino-Maija Metsola (b. 1983) lives and works in Helsinki. Metsola operates in the fields of illustration, design and painting both in Finland and internationally. In her artistic work she uses watercolour, ink and gouache on paper. She is known for designing numerous textile patterns and for creating illustrations for books and book covers. Her work has been exhibited e.g. in Tokyo (Ginza Graphic Gallery), Shanghai (Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai / MOCA), Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and Design Museum Helsinki. In 2017 Victoria and Albert Museum awarded her with V&A Illustration Award. Metsola graduated from the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2008.

tm•gallery shows Aino-Maija Metsola’s first solo exhibition Luoto in August 2021. The book UPO 4: Reading the Sky presented in the exhibition connects Metsola’s artwork with text from Daniel de Roulet and design created by Rejane Dal Bello. It’s published by Elobie Boyer and Éditions Non Standard in spring 2021.


Aino-Maija Metsola has received support from the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Finnish Illustration Association.

CV, Aino-Maija Metsola