Born 1974 I Lives and works in Helsinki
In his works Tommi Toija deals with questions of what it is to be human and of existence. He shows humanity at its most naked, with all its hopes and fears, but frequently also as rather amusing, fragile and vulnerable.
The main character in the works is an engaging little figure, surely the alter ego both of the artist and of every one of us. We are able to observe how this energetic every-man or woman, at times, becomes interested in unexpected things, or then she or he simply is, and ponders the way of the world. This figure is easy to identify with.
For a long time, Toija’s painted and glazed ceramic figures were good-humoured and wide-eyed, like big children or the inhabitants of other planets familiar from sci-fi films. Their wondering gazes, nevertheless, took our minds from forms and materials to fundamental thoughts and feelings about existence.
Recently, Toija has given his works noticeably darker, rather zany, if not outright grotesque, overtones. The figures are often broken, malformed or intertwined. At the same time as the works bring to mind ancient archaeological finds, they take our thoughts to the problems of our age, to refugees and to the victims of endless wars. They mirror the times and pose questions that touch the mind on a profound level.