The President of the RBS, sculptor Terry New presented the exhibition from the side of the organisers on Wednesday, February 4th, at Princes Gardens in Kensington. The curator of the exhibition, Clare Mander, can be seen at the far right of the picture.
The Finnish Ambassador, His Excellency Pekka Huhtaniemi gave a lovely opening speech detailing Laila’s importance to Finnish sculpture, and even though he had nothing to “unveil” as such (as he joked), declared the exhibition open.
The crowd braved the fittingly Nordic conditions (5 celsius with light icy rain) in Princes Gardens, gathering around Hephaestus (1990) for the opening ceremony.
Laila said this, for her, marked a return for her to the city to which she made her first study trip as a young student in 1955, working in a hospital in Richmond for three days a week in order to spend the remaining three days in museums (The British Museum and it’s Egyptian Room was a particular favourite).
Pollux (2000) looking at Hephaestus (1990)
All photographs © Petra Piitulainen