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Anja Purolainen: Expanding Horizons

April 30, 2016 @ 2:00 pm - May 18, 2016 @ 3:00 pm

Anja Purolainen paints using strong bright colours and acrylic textures and glazes. She is always looking for new and better ways of using acrylic media to transfer her pictures from her head to canvas. Before Anja started painting in acrylics she used to design and make Finnish ryijy rugs.

Anja had her first solo exhibition of paintings with potter Margaret Fryer at the Christchurch Art Centre in 2007, and a second in 2009 at the Opihi Gallery in Temuka with artists Richard Hansen, Colin Higgins and Maria Foley. She has also regularly taken part in group exhibitions in Timaru, Christchurch and Henderson, Auckland.

“My thoughts and feelings create images in my mind which I want to interpret with colours, shapes and rhythms. Some paintings become clearly pictorial to me, while others express my feelings at the time. I am always interested to hear when other people see my paintings differently. I understand that people have unique life experiences or may be at a different stage in their life and therefore see my paintings in their own way. I like my paintings to be an open experience.”
Artist bio:

Anja Purolainen was born in Finnish Karelia, which was taken over by Russia when she was just one year old. Her family escaped to Finland with four hundred thousand other Finns. She returned after Karelia was won back briefly and had to leave a second time. Since then she has lived in numerous locations in Finland, England and New Zealand. She moved to New Zealand forty-nine years ago with her scientist husband Howard Wearing and their three month old son Christopher. She has moved twice between the North and South Islands.

Anja joined the South Canterbury Art Society in Timaru after retiring from mental health social work. There she received encouragement and tutoring from more experienced painters, particularly from Colin Higgins and Maria Foley. While living in Christchurch she attended Canterbury University Extension Art classes for one year. Anja has since been self-taught.

Anja now lives in West Auckland and is a member of the Waitakere Central Community Arts Council. She paints in her home studio and has some of her pictures on view at


April 30, 2016 @ 2:00 pm
May 18, 2016 @ 3:00 pm
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