Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865–1931) is one of Finland's most renowned artists. He was active during a period when Finland was part of the Russian Empire, and a sense of Finnish national identity was still being built. The central themes of his work were Finnish nature, people and the national epic Kalevala.

Gallen-Kallela was a citizen of the world, and his art was influenced by his studies in Paris, and several trips and residences in Europe, as well as travels in Africa and America.

At the turn of the 20th century, many artists were inspired by exotic far-away countries, such as India, Brazil and the African nations. They believed they would find liberation from the shackles of Western culture.

In 1909 Gallen-Kallela and his family travelled to East-Africa, in what is now known as Kenya. The family's life was filled with painting, photography, the collection of natural and ethnographic artifacts as well as safaris. Kenya left a deep impression on the Gallen-Kallela family. After returning to Finland, they often yearned to return.

Explore the family's trip through The Art Key!

The City of Espoo has kindly supported the production of Art Key.

© The Gallen-Kallela Museum, Via Media Ltd. (technical production), Susanna Ånäs (script)