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Tampere University unveils President Mari Walls’s portrait

Published on 13.6.2024
Tampere University
Mari Walls ja taiteilija Kuutti Lavonen seisovat vastapaljastetun muotokuvan vieressä
Tampere University’s first president Mari Walls and painter Kuutti Lavonen presented her portrait at the unveiling on Wednesday, 12 June.Photo: Jonne Renvall
The tradition of commissioning Presidents’ portraits continues at the multidisciplinary Tampere University. Wednesday, June 12 saw the unveiling of the portrait of the University's first president Mari Walls. The portrait was painted by painter and visual artist Kuutti Lavonen.

Doctor of Philosophy Mari Walls started working as the Managing Director of Tampere University Foundation in August 2018. She became the President of Tampere University when the operations of the new university officially began in January 2019. Her term of office ended at the end of May 2023.

As President she led the building of the foundation-based University and a new multidisciplinary higher education community in a reform project that has been the most significant in Finnish higher education since the 2010 university reform.

Kuutti Lavonen painted the portrait using the tempera technique on okume plywood. 

“A portrait is not painted by the artist alone because it is a collaborative project of the model and artist. When we began, we noticed that we had both experienced losses in our immediate circle. That is why I have not presented her as brightly as you may have come to know her. In the painting, large is small and small is large. The cross and the sprout represent the losses. The edges refer to Walls’s surname — they are slightly off-kilter and may look like screens,” Lavonen said at the unveiling. 

Rehtorit seisovat muotokuvan vieressä
The event was attended by the management of the new Tampere University and its predecessors, and President Mari Walls’s colleagues. Tampere University’s President Keijo Hämäläinen (left.), Mari Walls, Rector Liisa Laakso from the University of Tampere and the Presidents of Tampere University of Technology Jaakko Puhakka, Markku Kivikoski and Jarl-Thure Eriksson.
Photo: Jonne Renvall

Continuing the traditions of the predecessor universities, President Mari Walls's portrait was sponsored by the Industrial Research Fund of Tampere University of Technology and the University of Tampere Foundation. The portrait will be hung in the portrait gallery on the first floor of Päätalo on the city centre campus.