Travellers on Highway 5 are greeted by a peculiar sight of people-like figures.

These hay heads appeared in Suomussalmi for the first time in 1988 when dancer and choreographer Reijo Kela created them as part of his Ilmarin kynnös performance. He created the People as part of the performance in the Lassila field at Suomussalmi.

The next appearance of these hay heads occurred in Helsinki in 1994 when the Kainuu region presented itself at Senaatintori. During the night, the People appeared on the stairs of Helsinki Cathedral. In the morning, there were 700 hay heads standing on the stairs, confounding the market place visitors and passers-by. When the event at Senaatintori was over, the People disappeared as abruptly as they had appeared.

The People were part of a performance “Kauniit ja rohkeat, rantojen raukat” (“The Bold and the Beautiful, the Wretches of the Beaches”) by Reijo Kela and Heikki Laitinen in 1994. They held the performance at the beach of Joenuoma, Ämmänsaari.

The Silent People found their current home in the autumn 1994. 

The People were not supposed to live this long, but they truly earned the right to survive.

The Silent People are clothed with new, clean clothes twice a year, at the beginning of the summer and in the autumn. The People also receive new heads straight from the field at the beginning of every summer.

The People receive their clothes as donations. Workshop Hanslankarit takes care of the People and is responsible for the collection of the clothes with Niittykahvila Cafe and Kainuun kuutamokeikat.


see Panorama picture of the Silent People