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The Silent People History    Reijo Kela    Niittykahvila Cafe

Reijo Kela unveiled his peat-headed beings for the first time in his 1988 presentation Ilmari´s Ploughed Field in Lassila´s Field. They reappeared six years later in Helsinki´s Senaatintori Market Place as part of the 1994 Kainuu Exhibition. Some 1200 Silent People had made the journey down to Helsinki but there was room for only 700 of them on the steps in front of the Cathedral. The presen-tation was erected during the night and over the proceeding two days created quite a stir in the Capital. The following night the Silent People were dismantled and sent back home to Suomussalmi.



The Silent People stood for the third time in characteristically implacable taciturnity on the shores of Jalonuoma in Ämmänsaari. The occasion was the daring 1994 presentation by Reijo Kela, Heikki Laitinen and various others of The Bold and Beautiful, Wretches of the Shore..


The Silent People moved to their present home in the autumn of 1994. The peat-heads are kept in good shape and have their clothing attended to twice a year; their heads come straight from the field, their clothes from organised collections. The Silent People are made and clothed by the Suomussalmi Youth Workshop, which also takes care of their maintenance.

People often ask what precisely is the idea behind the Silent People. A state of psycho-logical withdrawal? The mute Kainuu soul? A forgotten people? Reijo Kela refuses to provide any answer. Each viewer is free to come to his own conclusions. It may, however, be of interest to learn that if the Silent People were to be completely undressed there would remain some one thousand wooden crosses standing in the field.