Standing proudly outside an extension to the Finnish Parliament building is an oversized steel strawberry patch.
In 2005, the Finnish Parliament commissioned six pieces of artwork to decorate the new Finnish Parliament Annex, also known as “Little Parliament.” Out of 1,719 competition entries, this design by Finnish artist Jukka Lehtinen was chosen as the only one visible to the public outside of the building. It is located in front of the annex next to a pool.
The planting basin that the sculpture is mounted in has wild strawberries growing around the sculpture’s base, contrasting the fragile nature of natural strawberries with the robust welded metalwork of the oversized strawberries of the sculpture.
The piece is named “Oma maa mansikka.“ The name derives from a well-known Finnish expression meaning “my land’s a strawberry, other land’s a blueberry.” Which is a metaphor that symbolizes Finnish pride for their homeland.
The occurrence of wild strawberries growing on land has for a long time in Finland been an indication of land ownership. Land management and agricultural practices of felling forests and burning the land to transform it into farmland creates good ground for wild strawberries.
The nine plant stem construction is a little over nine feet (3.5 meters) tall high and the two strawberries weigh over 200 pounds (100 kilograms) each. Strict calculations were made during the design and construction phase to ensure that the sculpture can withstand the elements.
The sculpture was made by the company Homlet Oy, who specializes in making steel structures.