Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Jukka-Pekka Metsävainio


“When art meets science the end result can be more than either of them could ever be on their own.”

This is what our cultural personality, Jukka-Pekka “J-P” Metsävainio, an astronomical nature photographer, who has spent over two decades documenting the night sky, thinks. The passion of the artist is to see and to present the beauty of universe.

Although Metsävainio is an artist he uses scientific instruments and methods to make his art, so the images meet the requirements of scientific representation as well.

“The images are esthetic, but true as well”, Metsävainio sums up.



J-P, how does your life look like and feel now during these exceptional times?

“The exceptional circumstances have not really affected my rather lonely work as a photographer. However, the epidemic has prevented all lecture trips around the world and cancelled significant gallery and art museum exhibitions for example in London and the United States, so in a larger perspective the effect has been even catastrophic.”


How does Oulu look like through your eyes right now?

“Like a city that is developing a lot and fast, when looking at the situation from here at Oulu’s Raksila garden district.”


Oulu, together with 32 other municipalities, is bidding for the title of European Capital of Culture (ECoC). Why would northern Finland be suitable to win the race?

“In the big perspective it is easy to forget the human and creative resources which are located in the north, far away from large metropolitan cities. It is important to bring up the work that is done far away from influencers and decision makers. Otherwise a great potential in large areas will go unnoticed and unutilized.”


The heart of the heart -teoksesta kuva.

Image: J-P Metsävainio

What does our leading theme, cultural climate change, mean to you?

“To me it means admitting that we are dependent on the natural state of the whole world in all areas of life. Culture is not a separate island but is as dependent on the well-being of nature as any other area of life.”


Send your regards to the Oulu of 2026, when we are the European Capital of Culture

“Congratulations Oulu, well skied!”






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