Puhos Loves People

Puhos Loves People is a socially engaged project implemented at Puhos shopping centre in Itäkeskus area of Helsinki, Finland. The area is a busy transport hub for residents of Eastern Helsinki and is experiencing the first stages of gentrification. The mall was built in 1965 and was the largest shopping centre in Finland at that time. The centre has deteriorated over the years, but has also transformed into a vibrant meeting place and small business hub with a mosque (prayer room), shops, restaurants and community offices gathering people from diverse backgrounds. Despite the active characteristic of the place, the poor condition of the mall and the often negative media coverage of the centre has sparked prejudices about the place. .

The project´s background lies on the late 2016 published news of Helsinki City´s attempts to demolish the mall. The news raised concerns among the mall´s users who were afraid of losing their livelihoods and meeting place. To respond the situation and the negative media coverage of the centre an annual community based cultural festival was initiated together with the mall´s users.

The first production of the festival was organised in August 2017 and aimed to strengthen the communication between the mall´s communities and to increase positive visibility of the Puhos mall. In 2018-2019 the festival programme was diversified and further developed by inviting various communities in the production of the festival. In 2020 the festival was postponed due to coronavirus and organised again in autumn 2021. After the Puhos Loves People 2021 the youth organisations Meh and Bado took responsibility for organising the future festivals.

As a part of the project an art space was opened in the mall in 2019. The Puhos Loves People Art Space hosted art workshops providing art and cultural activities to people between the festivals. The space closed down in 2020 due to coronavirus related restrictions on gatherings and possible continue it´s function as a mobile space in the future.

Work info

Puhos Loves People Art Space: JP Kaljonen, socially engaged project, 2019-2020, Finland

Puhos Loves People 2021 festival: Organisations Bado, Funky Amigos, Meh, Prostt and artists JP Kaljonen (production facilitation) & Sari Hiltunen in cooperation with McMbay, Writers´ and Artists´ Association Kiila & Sivuvalo, Kontula Art School, The Finnish Musicians’ Union, Finnish Somalians´Coalition, Samha Association, Restaurant Kirkuk, Kurdish Diaspora Center, start up Refugee, United Youth Initiative Association, Malyun Daqare Production, documentarist Rasoul Khorram and artist Abida Jahan Shuma. Festival host: Wardi Ross & Habiba Ali. Sound Technician: Ville Saaristo. Festival area visualisation: artist Kristiina Tuura. Socially engaged project/festival, 2021, Finland.

Puhos Loves People 2019 festival: Organisations Bado, Funky Amigos and Meh and artists JP Kaljonen (production facilitation) & Sari Hiltunen in cooperation with McMbay, Tusovka organisation, KAS! Kontula Art School, Writers´ and Artists´ Association Kiila, Sivuvalo Platform organisation, A-ryhmä, Helsinki Youth Council, K-pop Suomi organisation, Finnish Multicultural Sports Federation / Show Rasism the Red Card-, Mamanet- and Kestävästi liikkeelle! projects, Pium Capoeira / Cordão de Ouro, Vallgård Martial Arts, Helsinki NMKY, Finnish Somali Network, Africa Care, Moniheli Katto proiject, Helsinki Deaconess Institute Unit service & Vamos project, Auroras & Let´s Read Together Networks, Mpmto organisation, Banadir Cafe, Q Express, Puhos pizzeria, Omar group, Finn Haj and umrah, Taleh Cafe, Reihaan Abdirahmaan, musician Joonas Lehtolan and Elyas Lemechele. Festival host: Jamila Mohamud & Ahmed Mahamed. Sound technician: Ville Saaristo. Festival visualisation: installation artist Kristiina Tikke Tuura & visual artist Abida Jahan. Festival Communications: Daria Tarkhova. Socially engaged project/festival, 2019, Finland.

Puhos Loves People 2018 festival: Badbaado Organisation and artists JP Kaljonen (production facilitation) & Sari Hiltunen in cooperation with Funky Amigos Organisation, McMbay, Muutoksii Organisation, Meh Organisation, Tusovka Organisation, A-ryhmä, Writers´ and Artists´ Association Kiila, Oranssi Organisation, Itäkeskus Library, musician Joonas Lehtola, musician Megbah Ahmed, Elyas Lemechele, Alanya Oriental Market, Kirkuk Cafe, Restaurant Arbailo, Sabir halal-Meat Shop and Tronk. Festival host: Saartu Gada. Festival communications: Daria Tarkhova & Asha Sheikh Musse. Sound Techinician: Ville Saaristo. Festival area visualisation: artist Kristiina Tuura. Logistics: Barre Ahmed (Anwar). Socially engaged project/festival, 2018, Finland.

Puhos Loves People 2017 festival: Badbaado organisation, artists JP Kaljonen & Sari Hiltunen and musician Joonas Lehtola. Socially engaged project/festival, 2017.