Defensive Wall

Letters to the Editor

To build the defensive wall

Thursday 06.09.2007

Leena Ryhänen, dean, Vaasa


Maaria Niemi wrote about Maire Laasanen’s work Come, let us build a defensive wall around the city in her column (Pohjalainen 1.9.2007): ”[…] it is an otherwise splendid work, but one would have hoped for the volume to be greater. That way the viewer could grasp the essence of the wall – it protects, covers or hides something”.

When I was exploring the Art Society’s exhibition, Laasanen’s work challenged me to get to work and start laying bricks. It has an invitation: Come, let us build… And the work has just begun, so many more builders are needed. I feel this invitation to work is challenging to both the individual and the society.

There are many different kinds of walls, uniting and separating ,strong and fragile, those that protect and those that are used for fighting, new and old… There is a danger, that we build a wall around us, leaving us alone, detached from the community and the protection it offers. Being outside of ourselves is what separates us from the others.

I felt, that it is a collateral invitation to build a defensive wall, to protect us all. It asks us to act for the community, for the city, so that it would be safe for everyone to live here. We would be free from the barriers of age, language, gender and nationality. We would have something strong to protect us, so that we would’nt have to fear about being left defenseless when we grow old or get sick.

Those that come here could recognize our city from the good that is being done eveywhere, for everyone. Literally, a sunny city. And after all, the wall that the artist has created is bright, steady and attractive. All of us who live in this city want to be protected by such a wall.

We citizens need more than material and spiritual protection. Those aren’t enough. The Bible promises to our city aswell: Your protection is the eternal God, timeless hands that carry you, and in the Book of Isaiah the Lord says: I am your defensive wall. We are all also asked to pray for our city.