Havis Amanda was restored at the Collections Centre. Sonja Hyytiäinen / HAM

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Helsinki's beloved Havis Amanda sculpture is set to make its triumphant return to the Market Square on Wednesday, June 26. After a thorough restoration, the iconic bronze statue will once again grace its original location, although the surrounding area will continue to be under renovation throughout the summer.

The meticulous restoration process focused on reinforcing the sculpture's structure and addressing any damages.

Public Art Conservator Polina Semenova oversaw the project, ensuring that all tears and holes were brazed, and the bronze upper basin was welded to enhance durability. However, Semenova emphasized that despite these efforts, the century-old sculpture remains fragile and cannot withstand climbing.

"There are still microfractures and visible stress marks in the upper basin, which we couldn't fully restore. It's crucial that people understand the sculpture's limitations to prevent future damage," said Semenova.

In addition to structural repairs, the restoration team removed decades of accumulated dirt, air pollution, and calcification from the sculpture’s surface. The statue's distinctive blue-green patina was also cleaned, allowing the intricate details to shine through once more. A protective wax coating was applied as a final touch to preserve the statue's renewed condition.

"The restoration was a success, and it will significantly extend Havis Amanda's lifespan. This landmark is now in much better condition for future generations to enjoy," Semenova added.

Originally completed in 1908 by Ville Vallgren, Havis Amanda holds significant artistic and cultural value. The sculpture, which depicts a mermaid rising from the sea, is a cherished part of Helsinki’s cityscape and a focal point for various celebrations.

To safeguard the sculpture during national celebrations, a new protective cover will be tested this week. The cover, made from weather-proof board and steel, can be quickly assembled and disassembled, providing temporary protection during events like Finland’s ice hockey championship finals. However, it will not be used during the traditional May Day celebrations, which see large crowds gather around the statue.

"Manta will continue to be a centerpiece for celebrations, and we hope for Finland's continued success in sports and culture. The new cover will help keep the sculpture and the public safe during these times," explained Cultural Director Mari Männistö.

While Havis Amanda returns to her rightful place, the renovation of Market Square will continue through the summer. The area will remain fenced off as workers finish the surfaces and pavements around the square. Improvements include a permanent lifting spot for cranes used in May Day celebrations and maintenance, as well as an overhaul of the fountain's technology and pipelines.

Despite the ongoing work, Helsinki residents and visitors can look forward to seeing Havis Amanda back at Market Square, restored and ready to inspire for years to come. The city anticipates that the renovations will be fully completed in time for the 2025 May Day celebrations, ensuring that this historic landmark remains a vibrant part of Helsinki's cultural fabric.

HT

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