Posankka (a Finnish compound out of ‘possu’, pig and ‘ankka’, duck), a giant hybrid of a plastic duck and a marzipan pig has greeted visitors to our town by the main motorway since 1999. Many people have a love-hate relationship with it. It is huge (just look at the person walking under its tail to get the dimensions!), cartoon-like (the sculptor, Alvar Gullichsen is said to have been influenced by Disney, among others), and rather hideous. But in over 10 years, we have got used to it, and oftentimes don’t even notice it’ when driving past. But today it caught my eye, as it provided at least a tiny hint of colour in the winter whiteness.
I like environmental art, as it easily becomes interactive – both positively and negatively. This pig-duck is dressed in a Santa hat and a red bow around its tail for the Christmas season, children love hugging it, and people test their climbing skills by trying unusual poses on it. One spring, a university students’ prank consisted of arranging a brood of colourful little plastic ducks beside it – the pig-duck had finally given birth! The negative consists of unavoidable graffiti and other dirt that has to be washed away at regular intervals. Naturally, it also gets exposed to the elements, and keeps changing its looks according to the seasons – like today, with its snout and eyes full of snow, poor thing!
Good or bad, environmental art challenges more people to think about art, as it’s more visible than exhibitions inside galleries, only visited by a selected few. This pink giant certainly screams for a reaction, and can’t just be ignored.