NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The exhibition will offer a selection of works from the students of the Tartu Art School and the Tartu Art College (currently the Pallas University of Applied Sciences). This collection has been compiled over half a century under the guidance of Helle Vahersalu. The exhibition is also dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the painter Vahersalu who has one of the longest careers as a teacher in the history of Estonian art.

After graduating from the Painting Department of the Estonian State Art Institute, Helle Vahersalu became in 1967 a teacher of drawing and painting at the Tartu Art School where she herself had earlier studied. From the 1970s, she started teaching composition that she considered exciting and educating also for herself. Vahersalu has mostly taught the students of artistic design (decoration) and painting of whom the latter were already in their third or fourth year of studies. For decades, Vahersalu was a valued diploma supervisor with her students graduating successfully and starting their own careers. Tõnis Paberit, sculptor and colleague, regards Helle Vahersalu’s efforts as the main reason for the survival of painting traditions in Tartu.

The number of Vahersalu’s students is remarkably high. Many of them have made their mark in the art history of Estonia: e.g. Sirje Petersen, Kalli Kalde, Tuuli Puhvel, Priit Pangsepp, Kristi Kongi, Merike Estna, Kerttu Lätt, Kadri Toom, Evelin Zolotko, Rauno Thomas Moss, Katrin Maask.

Together with her colleague, the painter Lola Liivat, they collected the school’s verbal and visual history. Helle Vahersalu became the keeper of the school’s traditions and she knows, remembers and says how things were and how they should be.The exhibition works come from the collections of the Tartu Art School and the Pallas University of Applied Sciences. These consist of the best evaluation and graduate works as well as selections from the training sessions. The collections are used for illustrative purposes during everyday teaching. Helle Vahersalu took upon herself to replenish, organise and maintain these collections.

The exhibition is curated by Reet Pulk-Piatkowska, the exhibition designed by Madis Liplap, and the graphic design by Peeter Paasmäe.Thanks: Helle Vahersalu, Tartu Art School, Tartu Art House, colleagues at the Pallas University of Applied Sciences, Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

During the same time, the exhibition “Helle Vahersalu. Snow, Rust, Colour” (curators Tiiu Talvistu and Kadri Asmer) takes place in the Tartu Art House. A newly published 232-page book (Estonian and English) about the artist is available at both locations.

Gallery name: Gallery Pallas

Address: Riia 11, Tartu

Opening hours: Tue, Thu-Sat 11:00 - 18:00, Wed 10:00 - 18:00

Open: 24.10.2019 - 09.11.2019