Oskari Jauhiainen’s childhood and youth

Oskari Jauhiainen was born in 1913 in Huttukylä, Kiiminki into a poor single-parent family. The family had a meagre income and had no permanent home.

Oskari Jauhiainen's sculpture from his teenage years, Bear, from 1929. Photograph: Mika Friman.

The misery was compounded by Oskari Jauhiainen’s ancestry – he was born out of wedlock, and was often the victim of gossip and picked on by the villagers. His biological father was known to be Iisakki Heikkinen (1877–1964), a village blacksmith from Suomussalmi. Jauhiainen inherited both the blacksmith skills of the Heikkinen bloodline from Kainuu and the peasant craftsmanship of the Huttu family from North Ostrobothnia.

Oskari Jauhiainen started to work outside the home at a young age, working as a shepherd, a farm hand, a rafter and in other jobs. He always carried a knife on his belt and liked to carve household items and expressive animal figures. His calling to make art was strong. He also enjoyed watching the village craftsmen at work.

Oskari Jauhiainen quickly developed into a skilled sculptor of miniature wood carvings. He participated in the Oulu Agricultural Exhibition in 1928 with his sculpture Bear Digging an Ant Nest, and won the 2nd prize in the crafts category. With this success, he finally become known and earned the respect he craved for as a sculptor. In the early 1930s, Oulu had many buyers and supporters of his art, and he was able to support himself by making art.

Gallery Oskari Jauhiainen


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